By Jenna Brooks
With the growing popularity of the movie Bad Hair, which came out earlier this year, there has been a surge in interest for nuanced films focusing on black hair and the struggles many experience with it. One that is worth checking out is the award-winning 2019 animated short film masterpiece Hair Love by Matthew Cherry.
It tells the story of a young girl, Zuri, who tries to style her natural hair by following in her hair vlogger mom’s footsteps in an online video tutorial. When her mom is no longer around Zuri’s father tries to step in and style her hair to the best of his ability. [Spoiler Alert:] The short film ends with Zuri and her father traveling to the hospital where they discover Zuri’s mom’s hair is entirely gone as a result of her chemotherapy treatment. Hair Love is short and sweet, presenting messages on the importance of hair in Zuri’s life to the message behind her styling and the care and love Zuri’s father has while taking care of her. Hair is the piece that ties the family together, but at the end of the day, they are able to look beyond just their hair to the love they all have for each other. These truly beautiful messages take a small idea like hair styling and showcase how it can truly bring together a family that is struggling.
Hair Love is a beautiful piece of cinematography that every African American woman can relate to, regardless of age. It takes a universal experience that young black girls have, dealing with their natural hair, and adds in a whole mix of themes from love to parenting to absent fathers to death. Clocking in at just six minutes, it is also available to watch for free on YouTube where it has already racked up over 50 million views. Having just won the Academy Award for Short Films at the 2020 Oscars, this one is definitely worth a quick watch and share with family and friends.