I thought showing you the film that won the best animated short Oscar on Sunday would be a great way to end the week. This is Hair Love, by former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry, and it will give you all the feels!
After being turned down by Hollywood, this charming, family-friendly story found its beginnings as a Kickstarter campaign. Cherry’s goal was to raise $75K to produce the story, but the idea was so popular, it instead raised more than $300K, making it the most highly-funded short film in Kickstarter history. It will quickly become apparent why it inspired so much public support, though it troubles me that it initially met with so much rejection in the American movie market.
“Hair Love was done because we wanted to see more representation in animation. We wanted to normalize black hair. There’s a very important issue that’s out there, the CROWN Act, and if we can’t help to get this passed in all 50 states it will help stories like DeAndre Arnold’s who’s our special guest tonight.”– Matthew Cherry Oscar acceptance speech
You may recall that DeAndre Arnold is the Texas high school student who was suspended and barred from attending graduation unless he cut off his dreadlocks. His and other similar stories of discrimination inspired the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), a California law banning discrimination against natural hair in workplaces and schools. New York and New Jersey have enacted similar protections, and twenty-two additional states are considering the CROWN Act, including Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. It’s both hard to imagine an argument against such legislation and sad to think it’s necessary. This world is in need of more love and less hate in a bad way. Today, though, I’m going to focus on the love.
As a special Friday bonus, I’m including the Buzzfeed video which YouTube suggested to me as a follow up to Matthew Cherry’s adorable short film. II was pleased to learn that it was videos like the one below that first inspired the filmmaker to create his sweet, award-winning short!