Hair Love, a new animated short film created by filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, is all about celebrating love and natural hair. This short film centers a black father, Stephen, as he encounters a new reality: doing his daughter Zuri’s hair for the very first time. Hair Love depicts a loving paternal connection that black families everywhere can relate to. Videos of black fathers interacting with their daughters or doing their daughter’s hair have become prominent and gone viral on the internet, which served as Cherry’s inspiration for this project.
Hair Love also shows the beauty of natural hair, relaying the message for black youth to not be ashamed and feel the need to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards. Instead, the film celebrates and encourages black children to love and appreciate the beauty and versatility of their hair.
“This story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also [out of] wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color,” Cherry says.
Hair Love also brings positive representations of black fathers actively present within their child’s life, therefore erasing the inaccurate stereotype of black fathers abandoning their kids. That in and of itself makes this film so important. Cherry hopes the addition of this unheard black family dynamic will help add representation in animated projects. We think Hair Love is the animated film that can add and promote greatly needed diversity in mainstream-cartoon-type films.
Matthew A. Cherry is a writer and filmmaker who has directed music videos with Snoop Dogg, Jazmine Sullivan, and Michelle Williams. Cherry’s first feature film, The Last Fall, launched at SXSW Film Festival, and since then has been nominated for and received numerous awards. Another member of the Hair Love team includes executive producer Frank E. Abney III, an experienced and credited animator who previously worked at Dreamworks Animation and Pixar Animation Studios, and contributed to major films such as Big Hero 6, Frozen, Kung Fu Panda 3, and is currently working on the Incredibles 2 movie, set to release in June 2018. Director Peter Ramsey joins the Hair Love short film team as another executive producer, renown for his work in directing Rise of the Guardians, which made him the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood animated film. Ramsey has contributed to other live action films notable to black culture, working as a story board artist in “Boyz n the Hood,” and as the Second Unit Director for the 1993 film “Poetic Justice.”
A kickstarter campaign was launched for this film and they’ve already met their pristine goal of $75,000, with the director’s stretch goal set on $200,000. “We want to keep it going,” Cherry says. “The more we raise, the better quality the film we can deliver.” It gets even cooler — depending on how much a person pledges, they will receive additional perks, such as a “Personalized Character Design,” or a doll of the main character Zuri, along with a special place in the producers end credits of the film! It just so happens that on July 31, the film reached their $200,000 stretch goal, just within a month of opening their kickstarter! Their kickstarter officially closes on August 9th at 8 p.m., so be sure to donate whatever you can to support Hair Love and its amazing work when it releases!