African-American Father Learns to Style His Daughter’s Hair in the Touching Animated Short ‘Hair Love’

“Hair Love” is a really touching and amusing animation by former NFL wide receiver Matthew Cherry that tells the story of an adorable little girl named Zuri, who wakes up early on a special day and wants to do her own hair. She and her cat watch an instructional video to get an idea of what she’s doing, but it doesn’t come out the way she or her opinionated cat expected.

Her time-conscious, dreadlocked father Stephen tries to intervene by giving Zuri a hat, but that idea is immediately refused. Stephen then attempts to battle Zuri’s thick, unruly curls but is quickly defeated by their elastic strength. He goes for the hat again and Zuri runs out of the room into her own.

Despite having long locks, Stephen has been used to his wife doing his daughter’s hair, so when she is unavailable right before a big event, Stephen will have to figure it out on his own. This sounds simple enough, but we soon come to find that Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own.

After a bit, Zuri comes out with the instructional video she was watching. As it turns out, the video was of Zuri’s mother Angela who was demonstrating how to style children’s hair using Zuri as her model. Unfortunately, Zuri’s mom isn’t there to do it for her, so Stephen relents and wants to give it another try. Stephen follows the directions closely and eventually gives Zuri the style she wants.

Cherry had the idea to do this film due to the underrepresentation in mainstream media of such situations and launched a really successful Kickstarter campaign to help make the film.

This 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. It is our hope that this project will inspire.

After that, Sony Pictures picked up the film for distribution. The story has also been made into a full-color illustrated book of the same name.
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.