‘Hair Love,’ a short animated documentary about black hair is a winner at the 2020 Academy Awards.
The film depicted a Black father learning how to do his daughter’s hair put together by former NFL player-turned-writer Matthew A. Cherry and producer Karen Rupert Toliver.
Both men took the stage Sunday night to thank the large team behind the animated film, which stars Issa Rae and was executive produced by Gabrielle Union, her husband Dwyane Wade, Yara Shahidi, Gabourey Sidibe, Jordan Peele, among others.
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According to Cherry, he wrote Hair Love “because… we wanted to normalize Black hair.” He then used the rest of his acceptance speech to urge that states pass the CROWN.
With New York and California passing the CROWN in July, he rallied more states to pass the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace) Act, which bans discrimination against natural hair and natural hairstyles, or traits historically associated with ethnicity.
Toliver submitted while accepting the Oscar: “It was a labor of love… because we have a firm belief that representation matters deeply especially in cartoons because in cartoons that’s when we first see our movies.”
Cherry explained to ESSENCE back in 2018 that he wrote Hair Love to combat negative stereotypes about black dads.
“There have been studies that have been put out that say Black men are some of the most involved and any little thing that we can do with this medium that can humanize us and center us and show that no matter whatever your stereotypes, we are fathers. We are sons. We’re husbands and we deserve fair representation just like everybody else,” he added.
Cherry dedicated his award “to Kobe Bryant,” who perished through a helicopter crash. “May we all have a second act as great as his was,” Cherry said of the late Oscar winner, who also earned an award for his animated short film, ‘Dear Basketball.’
Sony Pictures Animation acquired the film in 2019. The film was shown in theaters earlier last year.
“It was important to get this story out there and we are so grateful to Sony Pictures Animation for their generous support in helping us make that happen,” said Cherry in an earlier statement.