Oscar Winner 'Hair Love' Encourages Viewers: Embrace Your Natural Hair
Short films typically don’t receive a lot of attention—even the Oscar winning ones. This is certainly not the case for 2020 Oscar winner ‘Hair Love,’ which has touched the hearts of many and seems to have sparked long overdue conversation across the nation. The short film shows a father-daughter duo as the inexperienced father struggles to style his little girl’s hair.
Many are thrilled because this is the first film in which they see their real-life struggles growing up displayed on the big screen. While African American hair is generally underrepresented in Hollywood, the representation of natural hair and the style work, curly hair care and stigma surrounding it are portrayed even less.
Karen Rupert Toliver (left) and director Matthew A. Cherry (right) accept the award for Best Animated Short Film for “Hair Love” at the 2020 Oscars.
“‘Hair Love’ was done because we want to see more representation in animation” film’s director Mathew A. Cherry said during his acceptance speech at the Oscars. “We wanted to normalize black hair.”
It seems the film has achieved just that, plus more. According to CNN, three states have introduced or advanced bills that ban hair discrimination in just one week. This comes just a couple of weeks after ‘Hair Love’s’ Oscar debut. Coincidence? We think not.
These bills are all part of the national effort called the CROWN Act. The CROWN Act, or “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair,” is a bill that would ensure protection against discrimination based on hair texture and protective styles.
“If we can get this passed in all 50 states, we could help stories like Deandre Arnold who’s our special guest tonight,” Cherry said while accepting the Oscar.
If you aren’t familiar, Arnold is a high school student in Texas who was told he wouldn’t be allowed to attend his graduation if he didn’t cut his dreadlocks.
“It means the world to us to have him here with us,” Cherry said. “We wanted people to see how good of a kid he is, but also there’s no reason people should be policing our hair.”
The CROWN Act has now been passed in states California, New York and New Jersey and local jurisdictions Montgomery County MD, Cincinnati and Ohio. You can keep up with everywhere that the law has been introduced and passed here. If you’d like to help propel the movement against hair discrimination, sign their petition.