A black girl’s relationship with her hair is special. As is her relationship with her dad. Put those two things together and shenanigans can follow.
Luckily (for my tiny ego), my dad had his mother around to take over my hair duties. Really, I legit grew up in the same apartment building with both my dad and grandma, the latter of which raised me while my single mother worked to make ends meet. Daddy lived in an apartment on the floor above us. He’d come down to gladly take me to the park and teach me how to swing on my own or to McDonald’s, but hair? Nah. Though, it definitely would’ve been hilarious to see him try. Yes, I am imagining my dad fumbling with Royal Crown Hair Dressing right at this moment and cackling.
But, for those daughters who can directly relate to their daddies struggling…er… attempting to whip up their hair into a presentable style (I know, I know some of ya’ll are talented!), there is the short film, Hair Love. Hair Love follows Stephen and his daughter Zuri and their hilariously adorable adventure into effectively maintaining the little girl’s hair in his wife’s absence.
The film, written and directed by Matthew A. Cherry, has quite the interesting—and downright inspiring—origin story. It all started when Cherry (who is well-versed in Twitter and damn good at creating viral campaigns) began noticing the viral trend of daddy-daughter videos, specifically with black fathers doing their daughter’s hair.
The director, NFL alum and Monkeypaw creative executive then decided to write a book of the same name, which eventually became a New York Times bestseller. And as they say in Hollywood, the rest is history. From there, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to adapt his own book into an animated short film.
“I just thought the father-daughter dynamic was so unique,” Cherry told NBC Today’s Craig Melvin. “Just this combination of all of these viral videos of black fathers doing their daughter’s hair. These videos were going viral because people weren’t used to seeing these images. They thought it was an anomaly. And so with this, I want to hopefully normalize it.”
Bruce Smith (The Proud Family) and Everett Downing also serve as directors. The film is produced by Karen Rupert Toliver (executive vice president, creative for Sony Pictures Animation), Stacey Newton, Monica A. Young, David Steward II, Carl Reed and Cherry. Tyree Dillihay (Bob’s Burgers) and Teddy Newton (Pixar) served as creative consultants.
Following the Kickstarter campaign’s viral success, Hair Love boasts an ensemble of major name producers, including Peter Ramsey and Frank Abney (as executive producers), Jordan Peele, Andrew Hawkins, Harrison Barnes, Keri and Yara Shahidi (as co-executive producers), N’Dambi Gillespie, Gabrielle Union-Wade & Dwayne Wade Jr., Gabourey Sidibe, Stephanie Frederic, and Claude Kelly (as associate producers).
You can check out Hair Love, which will showcase as the opener before The Angry Birds Movie 2, now in theaters. In the meantime, get your “awwwww” on with the special clip above.
Updated: 8/14/19, 12:24 p.m.: This article has been updated to include the co-directors of the film, as well as correct the title to The Angry Birds Movie 2.