Hair Love

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Hair Love
Hair Love poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written byMatthew A. Cherry
StarringIssa Rae
Music by
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
Running time
6 minutes
CountryUnited States

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 features Issa Rae as a voice of the mother. The film was produced after a 2017 Kickstarter campaign, and 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.[1]


Seven-year-old Zuri attempts to style her thick, kinky 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. 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 family members hug each other.[2]



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.”[3] He and Karen Rupert Toliver also stated that they wanted to increase representation of Black hair.[2]

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.[4] 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.[4] He co-directed the film with Everett Downing and Bruce W. Smith, with Peter Ramsey and Pixar animator Frank Abney serving as executive producers.[5] The film was co-produced with Karen Rupert Toliver, who Cherry approached her for help.[2]

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.[4] Hair Love was storyboarded in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and animated in Toon Boom Harmony by Six Point Harness animation studio.[6]


The film was shown in theaters alongside The Angry Birds Movie 2 on August 14, 2019,[7] and was later uploaded to YouTube four months later on December 5.[8] The short was eventually attached to later prints of Jumanji: The Next Level beginning on January 24, 2020.[9] The film was also adapted into a children's book by Dial Books, written by Cherry and illustrated by artist Vashti Harrison, which was released on May 14, 2019.[10] The book was on the New York Times Book Review Children's Best Sellers list.[11]


List of awards and nominations
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 [12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yahr, Emily (2020-01-13). "Oscar nominations 2020: 'Joker' leads with 11; Greta Gerwig snubbed for best director; complete list of nominees". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  2. ^ a b c d Butler, Bethonie. "How 'Hair Love' went from a beloved Kickstarter project to an Oscar-nominated animated short". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  3. ^ Nunzio, Miriam Di (2020-02-09). "Matthew Cherry feels the 'Love' with Oscar win". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  4. ^ a b c Patten, Dominic; Patten, Dominic (2019-03-20). "Sony Animation Picks Up 'Hair Love' Short From 'BlacKkKlansman' EP Matthew A. Cherry". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  5. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (August 11, 2019). "Lion Forge Animation Debuts with 'Hair Love' Partnership". Animation Magazine. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  6. ^ "Untangling black representation with Hair Love's Matthew A. Cherry". Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  7. ^ "Viral animated short Hair Love to make theatrical debut with Angry Birds Movie 2". August 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Seigh, Steve (December 5, 2019). "Sony's new Hair Love animated short is a heart-breaking ode to parenting". Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ HAIR LOVE by Matthew A. Cherry , Vashti Harrison | Kirkus Reviews.
  11. ^ "Children's Picture Books - Best Sellers - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  12. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2020 Announcement Date & Time". Oscars. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  13. ^ Director Matthew A. Cherry Earns First Oscar Nomination For ‘Hair Love,’ Aiming To ‘Normalize’ Black Families With 2D Animated Short - Yahoo! Entertainment

External links[edit]