Black women have an intense relationship with their hair. It comes in many forms, from waves to loose ringlets to tightly spiralled curls. It’s all beautiful, but it can be a daunting task taking care of it, especially since Black hair hasn’t been normalized as a universal standard of beauty. Mothers and grandmothers pass on homemade secrets and traditions on how to tame natural curls into braids, puffs and updos, but the men in the family are often clueless. Enter the Academy Award-winning Hair Love, based on Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison’s best-selling book, where a father takes on his daughter’s mountain of curls for a very special occasion.
Zuri is a little girl who is excited about this particular day. She wants to look her best, so her hair has to look just so. When she gets her hairstyling gear out, she learns it’s not as easy as it seems. Not to be defeated, she consults her mother’s hairstyling vlog for tips. When her attempts fail, her father Stephen is called upon to do battle with the unruly curls.
Hair Love started as a successful book, then a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to make the animated short. With a slew of animation artists, including Vancouver’s Pearl Low, to bring the story to life. Cherry, who also directed the short, enlisted the voice of Insecure’s Issa Rae to created much-needed representation. It won the Best Animated Short at the 2020 Academy Awards and the hearts of people worldwide. See this sweet story that shows the tenderness between a Black father and his daughter, self-acceptance, Black love in the family, and normalizes Black beauty in all its forms on YouTube.