You can now watch the Oscar-winning animated short film Hair Love on YouTube—and you should. With your kids. Because ignorance and/or racism about the hair and hairstyles of people of colour still abounds and this sweet film is the perspective we need.
The timing of Hair Love’s Oscar win was especially poignant, as it came on the heels of Texas teen DeAndre Arnold being suspended and told he couldn’t walk in his high school graduation ceremony—unless he cut his dreadlocks. Arnold has said he’d been growing the dreadlocks since the seventh grade as a tribute to his father’s Trinidadian heritage. After the incident received national attention, producers of Hair Love invited Arnold to attend the Oscars.
Hair Love, created by Matthew A. Cherry, tells the “heartfelt story of an African-American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.” It’s less than seven minutes long, but still long enough to make you tear up. Writer Christina Marfice at Scary Mummy says it well:
The truth is that there’s still a lot of ignorance and racism in the U.S. surrounding black hairstyles (and the school dress codes that sometimes unfairly target them), and films like Hair Love will help combat that. The short is absolutely touching, and its core message, which is about the love between a father and his daughter, will resonate with viewers from all kinds of families, no matter what their hair looks like.
The short film was released in theatres on Aug. 14 in front of Angry Birds Movie 2 in the U.S. The Hair Love picture book was also published last year and is a New York Times best seller.