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Matthew Cherry shares journey from NFL player to film director

What was the inspiration for Hair Love?

I kept coming across viral videos of dads doing their daughters’ hair, and it seemed like the perfect story to expand upon. A lot of times with Black fathers, we get a bad rap. If you watch TV, it would appear that Black men don’t care about their children when, in actuality, most Black men will do just about anything for their kids. It felt like a great opportunity to normalize Black hair.

Hair Love has been nominated for 2020 Best Short Film (Animated). How did it feel when you found out?

We found out a couple of days before that Issa [Rae] was hosting the Oscar announcements. I was like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if she announced our category considering she’s the voice of one of the characters in the short,” and she did. Once we found out, I felt like it gave a lot of validation [ to] being able to do more than one thing. People think that athletes can’t do anything else, so this was a great source of validation as the Oscars are the highest validation you can receive.

Watch to see if Cherry’s Hair Love takes home the Oscar during the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, which airs Sunday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.


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