Hair Love wins an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 2020 Academy Awards. Directed and written by Matthew Cherry, voiced by Issa Rae, the cartoon follows a young Black girl named Zuri with a labor of love that so many young (and old) Black girls have; hair that is kinky, curly and beautiful…. though not easily managed.
Her plight is particularly heartfelt as she does not have a mommy and has to go to YouTube to figure out how to fix her hair. She turns to her father for help and while he has no clue, he tries.
Oprah.com‘s McKenzie Jean-Philippe states, “Not only was there the inspiring element of a young African American girl embracing her hair, but it offered the rare opportunity of showing a Black family depicted in animation with the father being shown in a positive light.”
The actual root of why a film like Hair Love is important to hit the news recently. Texas teen DeAndre Arnold was suspended from his high school because he allowed his locks to hang low, which violated his school’s dress code. This student, who never was in trouble, now faced not graduation for this apparent hair discrimination. After seeing this in the news, Cherry and Hair Love‘s producers Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade invited Arnold to attend the Oscar’s ceremony as their guest.
Arnold looked great on the red carpet and is probably right now celebrating with them.