From students with dreadlocks being denied the right to walk in their own graduations to news anchors being fired from their jobs for the way their hair grows naturally out of their heads, black hair has long been treated as controversial. That's one reason why Hair Love, the 6-minute short film from written and directed by Matthew A. Cherry, has captivated audiences since its release last August.
But unnecessary controversy and injustice surrounding black people's hair isn't the only reason this film has gotten so much attention.
On the surface, Hair Love is a story about styling black hair, but it's also about so much more than that. It's a beautiful story of family, of determination on the part of a young girl and her father, of love and caregiving and hope—a story vividly and powerfully told without any of the main characters directly speaking a word. After watching it, it's clear why it won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It's a brilliant and moving piece of storytelling, totally deserving of all the accolades.
(Seriously with the tissue, though. You'll start off laughing at the cat's side-eye, but you'll want a hanky handy at the end.)