The short animated film, which tells the story of a Black father who wears his hair in locs and learns to do his daughter’s hair for the first time, won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film on Sunday.
Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver, a producer of “Hair Love,” both addressed the importance of representation in cartoons as they accepted the award on stage.
Toliver noted that the “Hair Love” filmmakers are firm believers that “representation matters deeply,” and especially in cartoons, which are often “when we first see our movies.”
Cherry called for the Crown Act, a bill first passed in California last year to protect Black people from hair discrimination, to be enacted in all 50 states.
He noted its importance to people like DeAndre Arnold, a Black teenager from Mont Belvieu, Texas, who made headlines last month after he and his family publicly revealed that he wouldn’t be allowed to walk at his upcoming graduation unless he cut his locs.
Cherry, Toliver and other team members behind “Hair Love,” including Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, surprised Arnold with an invitation to attend the Oscars as a special guest of the film.
The high school senior hit the Oscars red carpet with his mother, Sandy Arnold on Sunday.