"Hair Love" (289904)
Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

The six-minute feature Hair Love takes home gold at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday winning for Best Animated Short Film. The film, written and directed by Matthew A. Cherry, tells the story of a Black father who must do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

Cherry was joined by film producer Karen Rupert Toliver to receive the award. Cherry said the animated film, which features the voice of actress Issa Rae, has a deep meaning for Black children.

Hair Love was done because we wanted to see more representation in animation,” Cherry said during his acceptance speech. “We wanted to normalize Black hair.”

Cherry also mentioned the CROWN Act, a law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture. CROWN stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair.

Cherry’s guest to the Oscar Awards was DeAndre Arnold, a Black senior at Barbers Hill High School from Mont Belvieu, Texas who made headlines after he was told he could not participate in his graduation ceremony if he did not cut his locks.

“There’s a very important issue that’s out there, the CROWN Act, and if we can’t help to get this passed in all 50 states it will help stories like DeAndre Arnold’s who’s our special guest tonight,” Cherry said.

A Kickstarter campaign was started to fund the production of Hair Love and raised over $300,000. It was eventually picked up by Sony Pictures Animation and was shown in theaters alongside The Angry Birds Movie 2. The film was also adapted into a book.