If you’re bemoaning #oscarssowhite once again, here’s a nomination you may have missed. Hair Love, the popular children’s book turned animated short by former NFL player, Matthew Cherry, was nominated for Best Animated short.
“Hair Love” tells the story of an African American father and daughter bonding as he learns how to style her hair in the absence of her mother.
Per the film’s website, “This story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color.”
In a 2017 interview, Cherry said he was inspired by the surge of viral videos showing fathers doing their daughters hair. “Media is impressionable and when little kids see shows, movies and magazines and don’t see people who look like them in a heroic place or complex place or don’t see themselves at all it makes them seem abnormal or an exception to the rule. And we’re trying to make them feel normal and have a little Black girl with maybe kinky hair feel like she’s represented.”
Cherry launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. The campaign raised $300,000, surpassing his initial goal of $75,000 and even his stretch goal of $200,000. The project set a new Kickstarter record for short film fundraising.
That was in 2017, and after two years in production, last summer the movie premiered nationally in alongside Sony’s Angry Birds Movie 2. A book version of Hair Love published by Kokila Books/Penguin Random House, was released in May 2019.
The former NFL player turned filmmaker is on a pretty good run. He’s had directing gigs on several shows including Whiskey Cavalier and The Red Line. In addition, he was an executive producer of , BlacKkKlansman.
Now everyone can watch the touching story online.