Dads, Daughters, and Natural Hair Star in This Precious Film From a Former NFL Player

An adorable new animated film, Hair Love, will feature fathers, daughters, and natural hair. (Photo: Matthewacherry/Twitter)

In recent years, an amazing overflow of fathers have gone viral on social media for styling (or attempting to style) their daughter’s hair. Chalk the popularity up to the fact that hairstyling is usually a task left to moms — and that the videos are just straight-up adorable.

Among those closely tracking the trend has been filmmaker and former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry, and now he’s created an animated film on the topic that’s sure to be a touchdown.

“I had the idea for an animated short film about a dad doing his daughter’s hair for a few years now, but I have noticed a recent trend of viral videos of African-American fathers interacting with their daughters and sons,” Cherry tells Yahoo Beauty. “Every time I would repost one of those videos they would always go viral. And the one I came across from DJ Hines went especially viral — to the point that a producer from The Ellen DeGeneres Show contacted me thinking that I was him. From there, I was able to connect the Ellen producers with DJ Hines and they featured his video.” That’s what really got the L.A.-based director’s wheels turning and led him to his new project, “Hair Love.”

Cherry shared the news of his first animated film on Twitter, and it has already received lots of support — more than 44,000 likes and 22,000 social shares in just a few short days. One person excitedly noted, “I will support the crap out of this!!!!” Others quickly chimed in with the same enthusiasm.

Without giving away too much on the new film, Cherry shares, “‘Hair Love’ is going to be an animated Pixar-style short film about an African American father named Stephen trying to do his daughter Zuri’s hair for the first time. The mother is away and usually does Zuri’s hair, but because there is a big event coming up Zuri convinces him to try. But little does Stephen know — Zuri’s hair has a life of its own. After trying a few different techniques, Stephen looks up a natural hair vlog and attempts to follow along, but even that doesn’t work.”

It’s no secret that there have been a lack of animated films that showcase black characters, and Hair Love will be an attempt to begin creating change.

“The biggest thing I want to happen with this film is for children of color to see themselves represented in the animation space,” shares Cherry. “We have Home, Bébé’s Kids and Princess and the Frog, but besides those films we haven’t seen a lot of animation that includes black characters.” In addition, he points out, “Black hair is also such an important topic, and we  want to promote hair love and acceptance. [But] this film is really for anyone that enjoys animated films.”

This isn’t Cherry’s first go-around with cinema, as he’s previously worked on music videos, Web series, short films, and feature films. His latest project, 9 Rides, which was surprisingly shot on two iPhone 6ses, premiered at last year’s South by Southwest; he’s also worked with A-list celebrities from Snoop Dogg and Michelle Williams to Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland. This will be his first animated project that he wrote and will be directing alongside co-director Jason Marino, creator of the award-winning short film Tamara.

In order to really kick Cherry and Marino’s Hair Love vision into full gear, they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign, with a goal to reach a minimum of $75,000. “I’m hoping to get this short completed by the end of the year and play it at a few film festivals,” he says. More than $26,000 has already poured in, increasing by the day. For more details on how to donate, check out full campaign details here.

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