Filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry’s animated short Hair Love has been a huge hit on social media even while it was in its Kickstarter crowdfunding stage. Now, it’s incredible to report that Sony Animation has picked up Cherry’s short and will bring it to a wide audience.
The film focuses on a young Black dad named Stephen who learns how to do his daughter Zuri’s hair for the first time. The film project raised $284,058 on Kickstarter, surpassing the original $75,000 goal. According to Deadline, this is the most any short film has ever obtained on Kickstarter.
“The story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color,” states the film’s Kickstarter page. “It is our hope that this project will inspire.”
“In the past year, it has been very clear that audiences have been yearning to see fresh stories that are universal and culturally authentic,” said Sony Pictures Animation President Kristine Belson, according to Deadline. “Hair Love is a wonderful father-daughter story and we are proud to nurture talented young filmmakers like Matthew who are breaking new ground.”
“It was important to get this story out there and we are so grateful to Sony Pictures Animation for their generous support in helping us make that happen,” said Cherry, who also serves as a creative executive at Monkeypaw Productions. “They have championed it from its early stages and we cannot wait to share the project with the world.”
Sony Pictures Animation’s senior vice president of creative development Karen Toliver said, “I have never been more thrilled than to work on a project so special and so personal. It really is what makes Sony Animation such a creative place.”
It makes a lot of sense that Sony Pictures Animation would choose Cherry’s project, seeing how well the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has performed. Not only did it rack up bank at the box office, but it also inspired a new generation of Black and Latinx viewers who hadn’t yet seen themselves represented on screen in such a vibrant and joyous way.
He will executive produce with Toliver, alongside Stacey Newton and Monica A. Young. Animator Frank Abney and Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey serve as executive producers.
Cherry, who served as an executive producer on BlacKkKlansman, is directing upcoming episodes of The Red Line, Whiskey Cavalier and Monkeypaw’s The Last O.G.