Chicagoan Wins Oscar For Best Animated Short-Film 'Hair Love'

Andy Dahn
February 10, 2020 - 10:27 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Chicagoan and former football player is an Oscar winner. 

Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry is one of the producers of "Hair Love," which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

"Hair Love" is a seven-minute animated short film that centers around the relationship between an African-American father, his daughter, and her hair.

"Despite having long locks, Stephen has been used to his wife doing his daughter's hair, so when she is unavailable right before a big event, Stephen will have to figure it out on his own. This sounds simple enough, but we soon come to find that Zuri's hair has a mind of its own," the short film is described on Cherry's website. 

"This story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color. It is our hope that this project will inspire."

The short made its theatrical debut in August 2019 with Sony Pictures Animation’s “The Angry Birds Movie 2.” It also has an accompanying picture book, which quickly became a New York Times Bestseller.

Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and Baltimore Ravens during his time in the league. In 2007, he retired and moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment, landing work as a production assistant on over 40 commercials and as a director for over 20 music videos.

In addition the the number of projects he has worked on, Cherry also served as an executive producer on the Academy Award-nominated film “BlackKklansman” from Spike Lee, while working as a film executive at Jordan Peele’s production company, Monkeypaw Productions.

Cherry won in the same category that late former NBA player Kobe Bryant won in 2018 for "Dear Basketball."

He graduated from Loyola Academy in Wilmette in 1999 and played at the University of Akron.