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Matthew Cherry's Delightful 'Hair Love' Is Finally Online

Hair Love is a much-needed and beautiful story about a father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

After some much well-deserved anticipation, the Sony Pictures Animation short Hair Love has finally been released online. This comes after the short film’s initial theatrical run—which premiered before theatrical screenings of Angry Birds 2.

Hair Love, a CG animated short written and directed by Matthew A. Cherry, portrays an extremely touching story about a Black father, Stephen, who quickly has to learn how to do his daughter’s hair for the first time when he is put on the spot. The film also depicts daughter Zuri’s own relationship with her hair and its “unruliness”—which is animated to humorous perfection. Hair Love should be especially moving to those of us who returned to natural hair in the last decade-and-a-half. We’ve dealt with similar trials and tribulations as Zuri, which include figuring out what in the blazes “hair porosity” means, gaining Angela Bassett arms from all the endless de-tangling, and searching for the perfect hair scrunchie that won’t break halfway through putting your hair into a mere ponytail.

And just so we’re clear: You will shed a singular thug tear. At the very least.

The story of Hair Love is inspirational enough, but some may find that the story behind it is even better. The film began as a Kickstarter campaign back in 2017. Even though it proposed a modest fundraising goal of $75,000, strong word-of-mouth and community support shot it into the social media stratosphere, causing it to surpass its goal by accumulating nearly $300,000—becoming the most highly-funded short film campaign in Kickstarter’s history thus far. Soon after, Hair Love was published as a children’s book and released under Penguin Random House and Kokila Books in May 2019. It quickly found itself on The New York Times Bestseller List, before it hit theaters later in August 2019.

Cherry shared the link online this morning to widespread, positive reception. 

And speaking with Variety, the former NFL wide receiver-turned-director detailed how proud he was about the now-celebrated short film:

“Having my first animated project hit the big screen was incredible,” Cherry stated. “It was always my hope that ‘Hair Love’ could have a theatrical run and to have it happen in front of a major Sony Pictures Animation release was a dream come true.”

Recommended: NOTHING ABOUT BEING BLACK IS EASY, INCLUDING OUR HAIR CARE.

Alongside Cherry, the film was also directed by Bruce W. Smith (The Proud Family) and Everett Downing Jr. (Up), and was produced by Carl Reed, David Steward II, Karen Rupert Toliver, Monica A. Young, and Stacey Newton. Its list of executive producers and co-executive producers include Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Frank Abney (Toy Story 4), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Andrew Hawkins, Harrison Barnes, Yara Shahidi (Grown-ish) and Keri Shahidi. And the list of associate producers includes Gabrielle Union-Wade, Dwayne Wade Jr., Gabourey Sidibe, N’Dambi Gillespie, Stephanie Fredric, and Claude Kelly.

Hair Love can be viewed above.

Clarkisha Kent is a Nigerian-American writer, culture critic, former columnist, and up and coming author. Committed to telling inclusive stories via unique viewpoints from nigh-infancy, she is fascinated with using storytelling and cultural criticism not as a way to “overcome” or “transcend” her unique identities (as a fat and queer Black African woman), but as a way to explore them, celebrate them, affirm them, and most importantly, normalize them and make the world safe enough for people who share them to exist. As a University of Chicago graduate with a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and English, she brings with her over five years of pop culture analysis experience, four years of film theory training, and a healthy appetite for change. Her writing has been featured in outlets like Entertainment Weekly, Essence, The Root, BET, HuffPost, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and more. She is also the creator of #TheKentTest, a media litmus test designed to evaluate the quality of representation that exists for women of color in film and other media. Currently, Kent is working on finishing a novel about a Black female outlaw and a TV comedy pilot about an immortal familiar.

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