Oscars: Matthew Cherry Dedicates 'Hair Love' Award to Kobe Bryant

Hair Love, the touching story of an African American father learning to do his daughter's hair, claimed the Oscar for best animated short on Sunday. The award went to its writer/director/producer, former NFL pro Matthew A. Cherry, and producer Karen Rupert Toliver.

Upon accepting the statuette, Cherry dedicated it to late NBA icon Kobe Bryant. It is the second time in three years that a professional athlete won in the category, as Bryant and animation legend Glen Keane won the best animated short Oscar in 2018 for Dear Basketball.

Cherry said he made Hair Love "because we want to see more representation in animation and to normalize black hair."

“We have a firm belief that representation matters deeply," added Rupert Toliver.

"This was kind of an opportunity, I think, to put a little bit of positivity in animation," Cherry said backstage. "You know, back when we did the Kickstarter campaign back in 2017, there wasn't a lot of representation in animation. And when I was coming across a lot of these viral videos of dads doing their daughter's hair, they were just so inherently joyful. Our biggest challenge was just to maintain that joy that made people gravitate towards those videos in the first place. So to be here and doing something like this with black hair and black families, it's just, it's literally a dream. And I never would have thought in a million years we would win an Oscar for something like this."

Hair Love topped a field that included Dcera (Daughter), Memorable, Sister and Kitbull.