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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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Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Entertainment

Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

Turns out Lil Nas X has more than just country rap up his sleeve. The 21-year-old “Old Town Road” rapper has a penchant for literature too.

On Tuesday, the rapper revealed that he’s written a children’s book called C Is for Country.

“I’m dropping the best kids’ book of all time soon!” the rapper shared in a Tweet earlier this week before adding that he couldn’t “wait to share it” with his fans and young readers.

Nas’s children’s book is being published under Random House Kids, a division of Penguin Random House. It is currently available for preorder on their site.

According to the Random House Kids’ website, the book is a story about Lil Nas X and Panini the pony.

“Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style,” Random House describes in its explanation.

The book is illustrated by Theodore Taylor III and promises “plenty of hidden surprises for Nas’ biggest fans.”

C Is for County comes out Jan. 5.

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

Entertainment

Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Que Bonita bandera 🇵🇷

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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