Hair Love hopes to celebrate black fatherhood and hair love in animation


Hair love is an upcoming animated short that hopes to increase representation of black fatherhood and natural hair in animation. And it looks adorable.

Matthew Cherry’s upcoming animated short Hair Love shows a black father attempting to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. And it’s getting a lot of love. The Kickstarter campaign already surpassed its $75,000 goal and $125,000 stretch goal and is now looking to raise at least $200,000. And it’s easy to see why.

Hair Love shows the touching relationship between an African-American father with long dreadlocks named Stephen and his daughter Zuri. Stephen’s wife usually does Zuri’s hair. But when she’s unavailable one night, the befuddled father attempts to take on the task. And, naturally, hilarity ensues.

The Pixar-style short looks absolutely adorable and hilarious. But it’s also something more: It’s empowering. Hair Love wants to promote representation of natural hair and show a positive black dad in animation. Little girls can look at this and see themselves with hair like theirs, dads that look like their dads, and a heartwarming father-daughter relationship like their own relationships with their dads.

Hair Love illustration still, credit: Vashti Harrison

According to the campaign page, Cherry, a former football player turned filmmaker, got the idea for the short when he saw viral videos of black fathers with their sons and daughters.

As Cherry pointed out on Twitter, “Black fathers being involved in their kids lives isn’t an anomaly.” He pointed to a report that black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than other racial groups.

And yet, if you look at animation or the media, it would seem like an anomaly. There’s a real lack of representation of those strong, positive relationships in the media. But Hair Love will show a father and daughter really bonding together and will portray a sweet and relatable relationship.

The animated short is also looking to promote pride and hair love amongst children of color. Hopefully seeing Zuri and her natural hair will inspire kids of color to embrace their own natural hair.

Hair Love Kickstarter page, illustration credit Vashti Harrison

“If one little girl sees this project and sees that this little girl has a big old beautiful Afro and brown skin and looks like her and is confident in how she looks and her hair is a character too, moving around and breaking rubber bands and everything else, like her hair does, they’ll feel more confident about their own hair too and take more pride in it. That was the biggest thing,” Cherry told PBS Newshour.

“When I have a daughter, I want her to be able to look at this character and feel like she’s represented and that’s someone she can look up to and grow up with.”

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Hair Love looks amazing. Not only does it just look really cute, but it’s also adding some much-needed representation in animation. If you want to support the campaign, visit the Kickstarter page here.