One of our favorite stories is coming to the big screen!
Hair Love, the animated short film we profiled in 2017, about a Black father trying to do his daughters hair for the first time, will debut in theaters ahead of Sony’s Angry Birds Movie 2.
Matthew Cherry, the creator of Hair Love, was inspired by all of the viral videos showing Black dads interacting with their children. A former NFL player turned filmmaker, Cherry wanted to make sure he profiled an “African American daughter and father, [knowing that a lot of Black] little girls don’t feel represented in a lot of these projects.”
The Kickstarter campaign for the short launched in 2017 and quickly surpassed its initial goal of $75,000, raking in over $280,000 in a month and setting a new record for short film fundraising on the site. Cherry said the success of his campaign was “incredible,” emphasizing that [he’s just] trying to make [children of color] feel normal and have a little Black girl with maybe kinky hair feel like she’s represented.”
After leaving the NFL, Cherry worked hard to pivot to a career in Hollywood. Starting off as a production assistant and working his way up to a creative executive at Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. He was an executive producer on Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and is currently a producer on TBS’ The Last O.G. starring Tracy Morgan, where he most recently directed his first episode.
“To see this project go from a Kickstarter campaign to the big screen is truly a dream come true,” Cherry told the press. “I couldn’t be more excited for Hair Love to be playing with The Angry Birds Movie 2 in front of a wide audience and for the world to see our touching story about a black father trying to figure out how to do his daughter’s hair for the very first time.”
To add to the magic, Cherry teamed up with fellow Black animators Everett Downing Jr. (Up, WALL-E), Bruce W. Smith (The Proud Family), Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) and Frank Abney (Toy Story 4), to direct and produce the short. The story centers around African American father, Stephen, learning to do his daughter Zuri’s hair.
The film also has a lot of star power behind it. Jordan Peele, Yara Shahidi, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, and Gabourey Sidibe all serve as producers, while Issa Rae (Insecure) voice acts in the short as Zuri’s mother.
Hair Love will be in theaters in the U.S. on August 16th.