‘Made by Maddie’ Producers Deny Copying ‘Hair Love’ Family (and Cat) for Nick Jr Show

Silvergate Media provided date-stamped images to TheWrap that pre-date “Hair Love’s” 2019 release

Last Updated: September 3, 2020 @ 6:50 AM

The production company behind Nick Jr.’s upcoming series “Made by Maddie” has issued a statement denying that the preschool series is copying Matthew A. Cherry’s “Hair Love,” following criticisms made by social media users who called out the similarities between the preschool cartoon and the 2019 Oscar-winning short film.

“‘Made by Maddie’ is a preschool show about an 8-year-old girl who uses her fashion sense and design ingenuity to solve problems,” Silvergate Media CEO Waheed Alli said in a statement provided to TheWrap on Wednesday, which was accompanied by concept images of “Made by Maddie” date-stamped between 2017-2018, prior to the August 2019 release of “Hair Love.”

According to Alli, the project was conceived five years ago, before Cherry launched his 2017 Kickstarter campaign for “Hair Love,” which raised $300,000.

“Silvergate Media has been working on the series for the last five years and throughout the production has taken steps to ensure a diverse production team and an appropriate voice cast lending their expertise and talent,” the statement continued. “As creators ourselves, we have the utmost respect and admiration for Matthew A. Cherry and ‘Hair Love,’ and our hope is that when people watch our show, they will see it is its own story with its own adventures.”

“Hair Love,” which was created and directed by Cherry, a Black man, centers on seven-year-old Zuri and her father Stephen as they attempt to style the little girl’s hair by following an instructional video narrated by her mother (voiced by Issa Rae). In July, HBO Max ordered an animated series from Cherry inspired by “Hair Love.”

Created by Paula Rosenthal, a white woman, “Made by Maddie” is set to premiere Sept. 13 on Nick Jr. Here is the official description for the show:

“Made by Maddie” centers on Maddie (Alyssa Cheatham), a quick-thinking little girl with a big personality and a huge heart, who has a passion for fashion. Maddie finds design inspiration around every corner and her big ideas couldn’t become a reality without the love and support of her aspirational and talented fashion designer mom Dee (Patina Miller), and her super cool and upbeat musician dad, Rashad (James Monroe Iglehart), along with the assistance of friends and neighbors, including kind, animal-loving best friend, Jada (Sophia Torres), and the twins–rule-following Harper (Amanda Dressel) and fearless Hudson (Ames McNamara)–who are always up for adventure. Maddie’s creative thinking and dazzling designs are a reflection of the bustling, colorful city of New York and its residents. Maddie confidently embraces her own unique style, celebrates individuality, treats everyone with kindness, and encourages others to take risks and be themselves.

Earlier this week, several Twitter users began tweeting side-by-side screenshots of “Made by Maddie” and “Hair Love” and listing off similarities they saw between the two, including the physical appearances of the animated families (and their gray cats).

Cherry himself joined the conversation by retweeting and commenting on some of those comparisons, including this one, in which he added an inquisitive-looking emoji (see below).

Hair Love Made by maddie

In response to one Twitter user, who wrote, “@MatthewACherry, PLEASE tell me you’re going to do something about this. I legitimately thought Hair Love was getting an animated series. That alone should tell you enough,” Cherry said“We are getting a series and this wasn’t it.”

A representative for Cherry declined to comment to TheWrap Wednesday and “Hair Love” studios Sony Pictures Animation and Lion Forge Animation did not immediately respond to the request.

See reactions from Twitter users drawing comparisons between “Hair Love” and “Made by Maddie” below.