New Animated Series Celebrating Black Hair Garners Critical Acclaim

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy of Max | Sony Pictures Animation

A Chicago filmmaker is changing the game after his successful film, Hair Love, went viral for its positive portrayal of Black fathers. Released in 2019, the film garnered critical acclaim after winning an Academy Award in 2020 for Best Animated Short Film. The film director only had $300,000 to produce the film, which has since been cemented as one of the greatest films directed by a Black filmmaker.

This time, Matthew A. Cherry is turning the film into a series for MAX. The series stars young parents named Stephen Love and Angela Young, voiced by Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi and Issa Rae—and features their daughter, Zuri.

Cherry described the series as “set in Chicago & follows the Young-Love family, parents Stephen Love & Angela Young, daughter Zuri & their pet cat Rocky as they juggle their careers, relationships, parenthood, social issues & multi-generational dynamics while trying to make a better life for themselves.”

Furthermore, the series will explore beauty standards and will showcase the main characters, who all wear natural hair.

The series, dubbed Young Love, has been noted as “the letter of self-acceptance that Black children and the community as a whole deserve,” according to writer Ariel who penned an opinion essay about the series for PopSugar.

She continues: Young Love is important for everyone to see, no matter your age. In the era of the CROWN Act — which is still attempting to be passed on a federal level, by the way — more representation means society is one step closer to a generation that truly sees natural hair as the norm. So until we get to that place, we’ll continue championing as many of these stories as possible. Because while you might consider hair an unworthy topic of an entire series, it’s the exact opposite. Young Love is the letter of self-acceptance that Black children and the community as a whole deserve.”

The seriesalso features vocal talent from Loretta Devine, Harry Lennix, Tamar Braxton and Brooke Conaway.

To add to the success Young Love will undoubtedly achieve, Cherry has also released Hair Love A-B-C, a book written for little children that portrays Black hairstyles for its readers. Vashti Harrison served as the book’s illustrator.

“We wanted to reimagine how we teach our babies and toddlers their ABC’s with more cultural specificity towards Black Hair and family moments,” Cherry said.

Learn more about Young Love here.

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