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Daily Helping for December 8th, 2020 – Hair Love

A photo still from Hair Love where the father is looking down at his daughter's hair, comb in hand, trying to figure out what to do with it.

Okay, so apparently it’s not just Pixar who can make me cry. I’m beginning to think there’s a global animated conspiracy going on here, because I can’t seem to get through one of these short films without turning into a blubbering mess. But if I’m going to cry about anything, it may as well be over a beautiful work of art. And Hair Love is simply astonishingly beautiful. I was thrilled to discover that it won the Oscar for Best Animated Short last year, because as far as I’m concerned, it deserves every award.

Hair Love tells the story of a little girl who has a big day ahead of her, and she wants to look good. Her hair, on the other hand, has different ideas, and she eventually turns to her father for help. Now, I am not a Black woman, so I have no idea what it’s like to have a Black woman’s hair. But I have been told by friends that it’s not easy. This is made very apparent in the film as the father ponders the daunting task ahead of him. At one point, he actually gets into a literal wrestling match with her hair. This sequence made me laugh out loud, right before the film turned on the waterworks. Hair Love was an emotional journey, that’s for sure.

I pretty much love everything about this film, but the part that pulled at my heartstrings the most ferociously was the father. He tries so hard to give his daughter what she wants, but after the aforementioned wrestling match, he’s ready to throw in the towel. But he doesn’t. He clearly loves his daughter more than anything, and for that reason alone, he’s ready to go back into battle. There’s more to this story, but to say more would ruin the ending, and the ending is beautiful. It made me cry, a lot, but it’s beautiful.

The fact that animated characters can have such a profound impact is what great storytelling is all about. I’m so happy that YouTube’s algorithm brought this film to my attention. I just wish I could get through one of these shorts without crying…

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!