Hair Love, an animated story about an African-American dad learning to style his daughter’s hair for the first time, took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Directed by former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry, Everett Downing Jr., and Bruce W. Smith, and produced by Karen Rupert Toliver, Gabrielle Union, and Dwayne Wade, the film started out as a Kickstarter and quickly surpassed its fundraising goal.
In his original video explaining the project, Cherry said, “We’re trying to promote hair positivity and inspire young kids to take pride in their natural hair, and show black fathers in their kids’ lives.” Tonight onstage, Cherry added that he and Toliver created the film “because we want to see more representation in animation and to normalize black hair.” He also praised and highlighted the CROWN Act, legislation banning natural-hair discrimination.
The filmmakers’ guest at the awards was DeAndre Arnold, a student who made headlines when his high school told him he’d be banned from graduation if he didn’t cut his dreadlocks. He was watching as the movie won, dreadlocks in full effect.