Hair Love

As I quickly bragged on Twitter, I’m one of the many producer of Hair Love, an Oscar-winning short animated movie about black hair. Most likely, Kickstarter backers were just polling money to attract a real investor and producer like Sony Animation is. The money collected probably wasn’t enough to produce the movie, which is how and why Sony stepped in.

Nonetheless, this movie won an Oscar and I didn’t even dream of that to happen. I remember seeing the Kickstarter campaign. I immediately put some money in and volunteered to do the sound design, of course. At that time, the campaign had a third of the money asked, Matthew A Cherry the creator had not much of a following on social media. I hit him up and as the sound budget was pretty small, he said he was interested.

But then social media took over. Big black names started talking about the project and in no time the campaign exceeded all expectations, going from raising $25,000 at that time to $284,058 when $75,000 was the goal. Even that money isn’t enough to produce a short animated movie though. Then things got quiet on the production side. Matthew blossomed into a social media beast, gathering a huge amount of clout while Hair Love updates were rare and not very exciting.

This is where Kickstarter dreams usually stop. The campaign is successful, producing the project isn’t. Not with Hair Love.

Just like that, the movie was done. Issa Rae had given her voice (for what I hear, through a voice message), the movie had also spawned a book, which had spawned a book tour around the country with Matthew and Vashti Harrison, Hair Love’s visual designer. During that time I had made a little sound design teaser to showcase what I envisioned but Sony had already stepped in. I really wanted to do this and record all the black kids I have around me in my life these days. Next time!

Black hair is such a massive thing. I remember my first time at the hair salon in France. White hair stylists had never done anything with black hair. They were giggling at that thick mass of curly black little trees. I cried when they hurt me. They gave up immediately, couldn’t do anything. Later on my grandmother learned to manipulate the clipper to do a decent job. I wanted a flat top so bad. I think I got it like once, thanks to a hairdresser who was willing to learn. I wanted cornrows so bad. There was not even a person who actually knew how to make that hair style in a 30 miles radius. So I started to buzz cut my early balding skull and never looked back. I still fantasize of sitting down between legs and having someone work that hair, and work it, and make it look good while music flows in the background.

Hair Love is real.

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