advertisement
advertisement

How filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry’s ‘Hair Love’ changed the conversation around natural hairstyles

His Oscar-winning animated short, which showcases a girl’s relationship with her curls and her father, will soon be an animated series.

How filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry’s ‘Hair Love’ changed the conversation around natural hairstyles
advertisement
advertisement

Former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry had been working in Hollywood for nearly a decade as a writer and editor when he was inspired, by viral videos of dads doing their children’s hair, to make a short film about a girl’s relationship with both her curls and her father. As a child, he rarely saw people who looked like him in the cartoons he watched. Even today, he says, “seeing Black fathers being affectionate toward their kids is an anomaly.” The result is Hair Love, a seven-­minute-long film that won 2020’s Oscar for best animated short. After launching a Kickstarter campaign with an initial goal of $75,000, he raised nearly four times that, allowing him to finance a Hair Love children’s book, which became a best seller. The release of Hair Love, in August 2019—before Angry Birds 2 in thousands of theaters nationwide (and now on YouTube)—coincided with the passage of the Crown Act in several states, which bans discrimination against natural hairstyles in schools and the workplace. Cherry, who recently signed a development deal with Warner Bros. TV, used his Oscar acceptance speech to champion the act. “If there’s a chance to pass legislation,” he says, “that’s one less burden our kids will have to deal with.” Within weeks of the movie’s win, three more states introduced the bill. Cherry is now continuing the Hair Love characters’ story in a new animated series, Young Love, which will appear on HBO Max.