Filmmaker and director Matthew A. Cherry captured all of our hearts last year with Hair Love, an animated short film about a Black father learning how to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. The short was shown before selected screenings of Angry Birds 2, Jumanji: The Next Level, and Little Women before taking home the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in February 2020.
Cherry was inspired to create the short to portray a number of elements which he felt were often absent in films, including depictions of Black family dynamics, Black fathers and the beauty of Black natural hair. A best-selling book version of the short was also created, featuring illustrations by Vashti Harrison.
Now, the Oscar-winning director has signed a multi-year first-look deal with Warner Bros. Television. Although no specific projects have been revealed, Cherry will reportedly direct and produce new material for multiple platforms. He will produce work under the banner of both Warner Bros. and his own independent film company, Cherry Lane Productions.
Previously, Cherry has directed episodes of multiple popular TV shows including Black-ish, The Red Line, The Last O.G., and Whiskey Cavalier. He has also worked on web videos, music videos and feature films including The Last Fall and 9 Rides, which was filmed entirely using iPhones. Prior to his directorial debut, Cherry played as a wide receiver for NFL teams including the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Academy Award winner has expressed excitement regarding working for Warner Bros, stating that “it’s an important time to be a Black creative working in this industry” and that he would strive to partner with others to uplift marginalized voices from within the community. Previously, Cherry has also spoken out in support of Black industry professionals attending protests and fighting for racial justice, including Star Wars actor John Boyega.
Hair Love is downright adorable, and we eagerly look forward to seeing what other creative projects Cherry will debut during his time with Warner Bros. Television.