How ‘Hair Love’ Studio Lion Forge Is Proving Diversity in Animation Isn’t Just a ‘Flash in the Pan’

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“They always say every story has been told. We think the perspective that the story comes from is really what our focus is on,” president Carl Reed says

Lion Forge Animation Hair Love
Lion Forge Animation

When Lion Forge Animation’s debut film “Hair Love” from director Matthew Cherry won the Oscar for Best Animated Short last year, it marked a watershed moment for the studio and for racially diverse representation in the animation industry. Founders Carl Reed and David Steward II of Lion Forge, one of the only Black-owned animation studio in the U.S., immediately wanted to seize on the moment and prove that diverse stories aren’t just a “fad” or “fly-by-nights,” figuring out ways they could use animation to challenge expectations of diversity, perspective and genre. Within weeks, though, the pandemic hit, and Lion Forge was back to square one.


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