Animated short ‘Hair Love’ sends a powerful message about Black dads raising Black girls
By Eye Candy
July 17, 2017
By Ayara Pommells*, AFROPUNK Contributor
Last week, former NFL wide receiver turned filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry unveiled his Kickstarter campaign for his new project, a short film titled ‘Hair Love’.
‘Hair Love’ tells the story of a young girl named Zuri, whose father Stephen does her hair for the first time. Just this seemingly small event sparks an interaction between the two which highlights the importance of loving and embracing our hair in its natural state. The funding goal for ‘Hair Love’ of $75,000 has already been surpassed, but Matthew and his team are hoping to raise $100,000 to truly do the short film justice.
AFROPUNK reached out the Matthew A. Cherry to find out more about the inspiration behind Hair Love.
Do you feel that Black Fathers are underrepresented, or the Black family as a whole?
I do feel that Black fathers are underrepresented in mainstream media. I think that’s a part of the reason why a lot of these videos have gone viral, because most people see it as an anomaly when a black father is involved in their kid’s life let alone doing something domestic like doing their daughters hair. I feel that the family dynamic of people of color as a whole is underrepresented in media and I feel that any project that helps normalize black families and other families of color all help immensely in humanizing our experiences.
Why is Hair Love such a burning issue amongst the Black and Brown communities?
I think that ‘Hair Love’ is such a burning issue amongst the black and brown communities because our standard of beauty is not the default in the mainstream media. A very European standard of beauty is, and so a lot of times when you don’t see yourself represented in TV, film, magazines etc. you start to question your worth and start to lose confidence in your appearance.
That’s why I feel that stories like these are necessary, so little black kids can see themselves represented and see someone like our main character Zuri who is 4 years old with a big old healthy afro and see someone that they can relate to. If one person sees this project and gains more confidence in the way they look then our job is done.
Are you surprised by the amount of support you’ve received and the funds raised thus far?
I am extremely surprised, shocked and humbled by all the support that has been given to this project in such a short period of time. I directed two feature films that both had Kickstarter campaigns attached to them and this has already raised more than both campaigns combined in less than five days. It’s been crazy to see in real time. So many people are sharing their stories of when their dads did their hair for the first time or when they came into being more confident with their own curly hair and it’s been incredible to see.
And what if you exceed your goal? What would you do with the additional funding? A series perhaps?
Our Kickstarter goal is set for 75K but we really need to try and raise at least 100K to do the project at the high level that we want to. Animation is just a crazy expensive medium and we want to make sure that we are able to deliver a Disney/Pixar level product to our supporters. If we exceed our goal everything will be going into the film to make sure that it is of an even higher quality.
Apart from donating, how else can we support Hair Love?
Outside of donating you can support ‘Hair Love’ by sharing it with a friend if the message speaks to you. Through this project, we are trying to make little black boys and girls and men and women alike feel more represented on the big screen. You are beautiful and enough just the way you are. Representation Matters.
Follow Matthew A. Cherry on Twitter @MatthewACherry
*Ayara Pommells is Owner of UK website Rawroots.com, Editor-In-Chief of ShineMyCrown.com and a freelance writer for several outlets. She is also a member of Rap’s first Performing Arts Group, The Black Opera. Follow @YahYahNah.