“Hair Love” creator Matthew A. Cherry is putting Black dads in the spotlight and breaking media norms.
Media is so powerful, and when you’re a young child and you don’t see yourself represented, and you see only a certain type of hair represented in magazine cover, television shows, movies, etc., you know you don’t see yourself represented you start looking at yourself like what’s wrong with me, why do I look so different from everything everyone is consuming,” he explained.
“Hair Love” is a children’s book featuring a dad who styles his daughter’s hair for the first time. It was inspired by vial videos of Black dads with their kids.
Cherry, a former NFL player turned producer and director, introduced “Hair Love” on Kickstarter in 2017 as his first animated project. His fundraising goal was $75,000. But after an overwhelming response, he has since raised nearly $285,000, making it the highest-earning short film on Kickstarter ever.
Cherry has since partnered with Sony Pictures Animation to bring the short film to the big screen. He says the hype surrounding the printed version of “Hair Love” reinforces the need for more representation for people of color in mainstream media.
“I really was just done with that in mind I was just trying to represent this modern-day idea of a father, but especially shining a light on African American fathers who so rarely get depicted in mainstream media in this way,” he explained.