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Black Girl Magic Caught A Big Win At The Oscars Last Night Thanks To ‘Hair Love’

Internalized self-hatred within communities of color is real. Throughout Latinidad, and in areas with large Afro-Latinx populations especially, the term “good hair” is phrase that is used to promote white supremacy and further oppress people of black descent. Young Latinas are often pressured by their families to look a certain way in order to project an image of perfection. It takes positive representation and the celebration of black features to eradicate anti-blackness from the culture. 

On Wednesday, it was announced that the wildly popular animated short film, “Hair Love” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, and the internet rejoiced. Issa Rae–who actually voices one of the characters in the film–announced the film’s nomination with a marked note of pride in her voice. After the movie’s nomination was announced, the film’s director, Matthew A. Cherry, posted a video of his team’s reaction to his Twitter account. 

The touching and adorable story of “Hair Love” follows the trials of a black father struggling to style his young daughter’s hair. The movie is a story of how self-love is accomplished through patience and attention.

The story begins with a little girl named Zuri who has dreams of having the perfect hairstyle when she visits her mother in the hospital. Struggling to do her hair herself, she recruits her father for help. Unfortunately, her father becomes quickly overwhelmed by not only the myriad of products and tools at his disposal but by the expertise and patience required to style black hair. 

Through the course of the movie, we see as Zuri’s father panics and struggle to become confident at handling his daughter’s hair. In the end, they both learn that love is expressed through both care and attention. 

Cherry has been truthful about why he wanted to tackle the issue of hair-care and self-acceptance among the African-American and black community.

“You know, media is so powerful,” Cherry told NPR. “And when you grow up and see magazine covers and TV shows and movies and you don’t see yourself represented, but you see every other type of hairstyle represented, you know, that can really affect your self-confidence” 

Interestingly enough, “Hair Love” was funded via a Kickstarter campaign. Initially, Cherry’s goal was to raise $75,000 for his passion project, but the campaign quickly gained a life of it’s own. The campaign went viral, and soon enough, celebrity champions like Jordan Peele and Gabrielle Union came on board as producers. All in all, the campaign raked in a total of $280,000–smashing Kickstarter’s short-film financing records. 

For many people, “Hair Love”’s nomination has been a bright spot among the bleak roster of very white Oscar nominations.

As has become customary, film fans and movie critics have decried the Oscars for the lack of diversity among their 2020 nominees. Not only is there only one black performer among the 20 nominees for acting, but assumed shoe-in Jennifer Lopez was snubbed for a Best Supporting actress nom. To make matters worse, there were no female directors nominated at all for the second consecutive time.

Even Cherry himself has vocally criticized the nomination roster, blasting the Academy for snubbing both Eddie Murphy and Lupita N’Yongo (for their performances in “Dolemite Is My Name” and “Us”, respectively). He called the day “bittersweet” and expressed his wish for “more black folks and POC” to be nominated along side of him. 

But Cherry has not been immune to the excitement surrounding the nomination, actively expressing his pleasure on social media.

“It feels like a dream,” he Tweeted out after the nomination announcement. “Huge thanks to our great team, our Kickstarter backers and @SonyAnimation for believing in us.”

Of course, social media was over the moon at the announcement of “Hair Love”‘s Oscar nomination.

Not only is the story touching and brilliant, but hundreds of people feel invested after initially donated to the project via Kickstarter.

Some people admitted that the movie brought them to tears when they first watched it.

Same, girl. Same.

Issa Rae’s co-announcer John Chu admitted a teeny bit of bias for the film.

This move is just so gosh darn easy to root for.

This person pointed out that Rae herself looked more than a little happy when the nomination was announced.

Tweet 3: https://twitter.com/ElijahjWilson_/status/1216745262435139584?s=20

We all know where Issa stands when it comes to whom she roots for.

Some Kickstarter contributors were already calling themselves Oscar-nominated producers

https://twitter.com/TimothyDeLaG/status/1216716372111024128?s=20 Where’s the lie, though?

Watch “Hair Love” here:

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