|Written by||Matthew A. Cherry|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
Hair Love is a 2019 American animated short film written and directed by Matthew A. Cherry and co-produced with Karen Rupert Toliver. It follows the story of a man who must do his daughter's hair for the first time, and it features Issa Rae as a voice of the mother. The film was produced after a 2017 Kickstarter campaign, and it was also released as a children's book in May 2019 with illustrations by Vashti Harrison. Hair Love won Best Animated Short Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. The short was ordered to a series titled Young Love by HBO Max in July 2020.
Seven-year-old Zuri attempts to style her thick, natural hair while watching an instructional video narrated by her mother (Issa Rae). Her father, Stephen, attempts to help her and, after much effort, styles her hair. Zuri then shows her dad the video of her mom styling her hair, where he was able to do the same. They enter a hospital room where her mother is wearing a scarf and sitting in a wheelchair. Her mother removes her scarf to reveal that her head is completely bald, the result of chemotherapy for cancer. The family members hug each other and return home together. As shown in the credits, the mother's hair starts growing back over time.
Cherry stated that he was inspired to create Hair Love to counter stereotypes about Black fathers, because "Black fathers have had one of the worst raps in mainstream media as being portrayed as being deadbeats and not being involved.” He and Karen Rupert Toliver also stated that they wanted to increase representation of Black hair.
In 2017, Cherry created a Kickstarter campaign for a short animated film called Hair Love. The film is about an African American dad who is attempting to style his young daughter Zuri's hair for the first time. The campaign surpassed its initial goal of $75,000 and raised over $300,000. According to Kickstarter, that exceeds the amount raised by any other short film project on the platform. He co-directed the film with Everett Downing and Bruce W. Smith, with Peter Ramsey and Pixar animator Frank Abney serving as executive producers. The film was co-produced with Karen Rupert Toliver, whom Cherry approached for help.
On March 20, 2019, Sony Pictures Animation announced that they had picked up Hair Love, which was slated to be released theatrically later that year. Hair Love was storyboarded in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and animated in Toon Boom Harmony by Six Point Harness animation studio.
The film was shown in theaters alongside The Angry Birds Movie 2 on August 14, 2019, and was uploaded to YouTube four months later on December 5. The short was eventually attached to later prints of Jumanji: The Next Level beginning on January 24, 2020, as well as screenings of Little Women. The film was also adapted into a children's book, written by Cherry and illustrated by artist Vashti Harrison, which was released by Dial Books on May 14, 2019. The book was on the New York Times Book Review Children's Best Sellers list.
On July 7, 2020, the streaming service HBO Max ordered a 12-episode animated series titled Young Love with Cherry and Carl Jones serving as showrunners, to be produced by Sony Pictures Animation, Blue Key Entertainment and Lion Forge Animation.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||February 9, 2020||Best Animated Short Film||Matthew A. Cherry & Karen Rupert Toliver||Won|||
|Black Reel Awards||February 6, 2020||Outstanding Independent Short Film||Matthew A. Cherry||Won|||
- 2019 in film
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Sony's 2018 Oscar-winning animated feature also featuring an African-American protagonist.
- The ChubbChubbs! – Sony's 2002 Oscar-winning short film.
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- "Hair Love" wins Best Animated Short Film-Oscars on YouTube
- Butler, Bethonie. "How 'Hair Love' went from a beloved Kickstarter project to an Oscar-nominated animated short". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
- Nunzio, Miriam Di (2020-02-09). "Matthew Cherry feels the 'Love' with Oscar win". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
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- Sony Pictures Animation [@SonyAnimation] (January 24, 2020). "All smiles. #HairLove is now playing in select theaters in the US and Canada with #Jumanji: The Next Level" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Matthew A. Cherry [@MatthewACherry] (February 17, 2020). "Hair Love is playing before Little Women now too? Sheesh" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- HAIR LOVE by Matthew A. Cherry , Vashti Harrison | Kirkus Reviews.
- "Children's Picture Books - Best Sellers - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
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- Director Matthew A. Cherry Earns First Oscar Nomination For ‘Hair Love,’ Aiming To ‘Normalize’ Black Families With 2D Animated Short - Yahoo! Entertainment
- Morales, Wilson (December 11, 2019). "20th Annual Black Reel Awards - Nominees Announced". Black Film. Retrieved January 9, 2020.