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Former NFL Player Matthew A. Cherry Wins Best Animated Short Oscar for ‘Hair Love’

Cherry wins in the same category that late former basketball player Kobe Bryant won in 2018

Matthew A. Cherry won his first Oscar on Sunday for his animated short film “Hair Love.”

The short film was started via kickstarter, which at the time broke the record for the highest amount raised for any short film on the platform. “Hair Love” tells the beautiful story of an African American father and his daughter attempting to do her hair, and learning to love what makes her in the process.

“‘Hair Love’ was done because we wanted to see more representation in animation, and because we wanted to normalize black hair,” Cherry said from the Dolby stage on Sunday.

It’s a beautifully animated and tender film that has received significant praise from the film community.

Cherry used the biggest stage in Hollywood to call attention to the Crown Act, a law in California, New York, Montgomery County, Maryland and New Jersey that protects against discrimination based on hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the Fair Employment and Housing Act and state Education Codes. There is a petition urging congress to pass the law at the national level.

Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens during his time in the league.

He won in the same category that late former NBA player Kobe Bryant won in 2018.

Cherry dedicated the win to Bryant: “This award is dedicated to Kobe, may we all have a second act as great as his.”