Matthew A. Cherry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Matthew A. Cherry
Born (1981-12-14) December 14, 1981 (age 41)
Years active
  • 2007–present (film career)
Notable workHair Love
SpouseCandice Wilson (m. 2020)

Football career
No. 2, 13, 14, 18
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:203 lb (92 kg)
Career information
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Matthew A. Cherry (born December 14,[1] 1981)[2][3] is an American film director, writer, producer, and former American football player. He wrote and directed two independent films, The Last Fall (2012), and 9 Rides (2016). He is best known for the 2019 Academy Award-winning animated short film, Hair Love. The Kickstarter campaign for Hair Love raised nearly $300,000 and broke the record for the highest amount raised for any short film on the platform.[4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Cherry was raised in the Northwest Side neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois,[3] and graduated from Loyola Academy in nearby Wilmette[7] in 1999.[8] He attended the University of Akron, where he played on the football team and earned a bachelor's degree in media.[9][better source needed]

Cherry played college football for four seasons with the Akron Zips under head coach Lee Owens and was a second-team All-Mid-American Conference wide receiver.[10] He finished his career as the all-time leading receiver in school history[11] and ended his senior season with records for total receptions,[12] yards, touchdowns, punt return yards and punt return touchdowns.[citation needed]

Professional football career[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight 40-yard dash
6 ft 0+58 in
(1.84 m)
202 lb
(92 kg)
4.56 s
All values from Pro Day[13][14]

Cherry signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent following the 2004 NFL Draft.[15] He was waived during final roster cuts on August 29, 2004,[16] and re-signed to the team's practice squad on September 6.[17] The Cincinnati Bengals signed him off of the Jaguars' practice squad to their active roster on December 29, 2004, before the final game of the season.[15]

Cherry was waived by the Bengals during final roster cuts on August 29, 2005.[18] He worked out for the Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League on September 9, 2005,[19] but left the team by September 21 without having played in a game. The Renegades franchise folded shortly after due to financial instability.[20]

Cherry signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2006, and was allocated to the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe. He was waived by Hamburg during final roster cuts on March 5, 2006.[21] He returned to the Panthers, but was waived on May 30, 2006. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens on August 3, 2006.[22] He was placed on injured reserve on August 30, 2006, and missed the entire season.[23]

Film career[edit]

Career beginnings[edit]

Cherry retired from football in 2007 to pursue a film career.[24] After initially working as a production assistant he began directing music videos. He directed the video for gospel song "Say Yes" by singer Michelle Williams.[24]

Cherry wrote and directed his first film, The Last Fall, in 2012. The film stars Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie. The film, which premiered at SXSW, received average critical reviews.[24] Peter Deburge of Variety described The Last Fall as a "tepid daytime-TV melodrama."[6] Gary Goldstein wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "this is an involving, sympathetic film unafraid to wear its sizable heart on its sleeve."[5] It won Best Screenplay at the American Black Film Festival.

His second film, 9 Rides, was shot entirely on an iPhone 6s, which may be the first feature film shot using the device.[25] Starring Dorian Missick, it premiered at SXSW in 2016.[26] Tom Harrington of The Daily Dot called it "a taut, attractive piece of work."[25] Shannon M. Houston reviewed the film for Paste and wrote, "9 Rides is proof that Cherry is a storyteller who can do quite a bit with a modest budget (this is the first film shot on an iPhone 6s) and a simple premise."[27]

Hair Love[edit]

In 2017, Cherry created a Kickstarter campaign for a short animated film called Hair Love.[4] The campaign surpassed its initial goal of $75,000 and raised nearly $300,000.[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.[28] On March 20, 2019, Sony Pictures Animation announced that they had picked up Hair Love, which was released in theaters alongside The Angry Birds Movie 2 on August 14, 2019.[29] The film won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Animated Short, with Cherry accepting the award alongside fellow producer Karen Rupert Toliver.[30]

In 2020, Cherry became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[31] In October 2020, Cherry was revealed to be working on a project for Sony Pictures Animation, titled Tut.[32]


In June 2020, Cherry signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Television.[33]

On July 7, 2020, HBO Max, ordered a 12-episode season of Young Love, a 2D animated series from Cherry based on his short film Hair Love.[34]



Year Title Writer Director Producer Other Notes
2012 The Last Fall Yes Yes Yes No
2016 9 Rides Yes Yes Yes No
2018 BlacKkKlansman No No Yes No Executive producer
2019 Hair Love Yes Yes Yes No Short film
2023 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse No No No Yes Production consultant
TBA Tut No Yes No No


Year Title Writer Director Producer Notes
2019 Whiskey Cavalier No Yes No Episode: "Spain, Trains and Automobiles"
The Last O.G. Yes Co-producer
Episode: "Sound of Da Police"
The Red Line No Episode: "We Need Glory for a While"
Mixed-ish Episode: "Bad Boys"
2019–2020 The Unicorn 2 episodes
2020 Black-ish 3 episodes
2020–2021 Saved by the Bell 2 episodes
2021 The Wonder Years Episode: "Science Fair"
2022 Kenan Episode: "Ghosts of Boyfriends Past"
The Kings of Napa 2 episodes
Grand Crew Episode: "Wine & Headlines"
Bel-Air Episode: "Can't Knock the Hustle"
Abbott Elementary Episode: "Ava vs. Superintendent"


  1. ^ Cherry, Matthew A. (December 13, 2019). "My birthday is tomorrow". Matthew A. Cherry verified Instagram account. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  2. ^ "Former NFL WR Matthew A. Cherry wins Oscar for short animated film". ESPN. February 9, 2020. Archived from the original on June 11, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020. Cherry, 38 [as of February 9, 2020]...
  3. ^ a b Moore, Evan F. (December 31, 2019). "NFL to Hollywood: Northwest Side native Matthew A. Cherry's 'Hair Love' makes Oscars' short list". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020. Cherry, 38 [as of December 31, 2019], grew up on the Northwest Side playing Pop Warner football at Portage Park and baseball at Gompers Park.
  4. ^ a b c Patten, Dominic (2019-03-20). "Sony Animation Picks Up 'Hair Love' Short From 'BlacKkKlansman' EP Matthew A. Cherry". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  5. ^ a b "Movie review: 'The Last Fall' paints grim picture of post-NFL life". Los Angeles Times. 2012-10-25. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  6. ^ a b Debruge, Peter (2012-04-03). "The Last Fall". Variety. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  7. ^ Carter, Kelley L. (May 4, 2019). "Matthew Cherry moved from the practice squad in the NFL to first string in Hollywood". Andscape. Archived from the original on September 19, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  8. ^ Cherry, Matthew A.(verified account) [@matthewacherry] (Oct 19, 2018). "Got inducted into my high school's Hall Of Fame tonight" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020 – via Twitter. "Matt Cherry '99
  9. ^ "Who Is Matthew A. Cherry?". The Urban Daily. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "Zips' former gridiron star scores big in new career". November 7, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  11. ^ "Former Zips Wideout Signed By Cincinnati Bengals". CBS Sports Network. December 29, 2004. Retrieved 2011-07-29.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Akron Looks to Make it Five-Straight Saturday at Ohio". CBS Sports Network. November 9, 2004. Retrieved 2011-07-29.[dead link]
  13. ^ "2004 NFL Draft Scout Matt Cherry College Football Profile". Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  14. ^ "Matt Cherry 2004 NFL Draft Profile". Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Bengals put rookie Chris Perry on injury list". The Tribune. December 30, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2020 – via
  16. ^ "Transactions". The New York Times. August 29, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  17. ^ "Football". The Times. September 7, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2020 – via
  18. ^ "Transactions". Baltimore Sun. August 29, 2005. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  19. ^ Sekeres, Matthew (September 10, 2005). "Renegades cannon-fodder". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved February 9, 2020 – via
  20. ^ Holder, Gord (September 24, 2017). "Renegade filmmaker: Short-lived CFLer Matthew A. Cherry gets animated". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  21. ^ "Teams make roster cuts as training camp closes". March 5, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  22. ^ Hensley, Jamison and Edward Lee (August 3, 2006). "Hamstring still slows Clayton". Archived from the original on August 6, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  23. ^ "Transactions". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. August 30, 2006. Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  24. ^ a b c Busch, Anita (2016-04-01). "NFL Player-Turned-Director Matthew Cherry Signs With ICM Partners". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  25. ^ a b "Get in the back seat with '9 Rides,' a feature film shot entirely on iPhone 6s". The Daily Dot. 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  26. ^ Mumin, Nijla (2016-03-18). "SXSW Review: '9 Rides' Take Us On An Engrossing Drive". IndieWire. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  27. ^ "9 Rides". 21 March 2016. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  28. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (August 11, 2019). "Lion Forge Animation Debuts with 'Hair Love' Partnership". Animation Magazine. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  29. ^ "Viral animated short Hair Love to make theatrical debut with Angry Birds Movie 2". Entertainment Weekly. August 5, 2019.
  30. ^ "The 92nd Academy Awards: 2020". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on October 20, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  31. ^ "Academy Invites 819 to Membership" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. June 30, 2020. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  32. ^ Donnelly, Matt (October 14, 2020). "Oscar Winner Matthew A. Cherry's Debut Feature 'Tut' in the Works at Sony Pictures Animation (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  33. ^ White; White (2020-06-17). "Warner Bros Television Signs First-Look Deal With 'Hair Love' Director Matthew A. Cherry". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  34. ^ "Matthew Cherry's 'Hair Love' Becoming HBO Max Animated Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-07-21.

External links[edit]