Matthew A. Cherry captured our hearts with his animated short film Hair Love, which tells the story of a father who must tackle the task of doing his daughter’s hair for the first time and the loving bond the two share. The film director earned his first Academy Award for his efforts in 2019 for "Best Animated Short Film", a dream he manifested in a Twitter post more than five years before. However, there’s way more to the creative than a prestigious trophy. Get to know the BET Awards 2022 presenter with these five fun facts.
He began as a video director
Before creating short films, Matthew shot music videos for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Jazmine Sullivan, and many more. He directed the video for the gospel song "Say Yes" by singer Michelle Williams.
He was initially on the road to becoming a professional football player
While attending the University of Akron for media, Matthew established an impressive athletic career as the football team star, where he still holds the school record for most yards on punt returns in a season, with 305 in 2003. That same year the student-athlete was named second-team All-Mid-American Conference.
He had a brief NFL career
Before going on to make the Oscar-winning short, Matthew went pro with his football journey. In three seasons, the wide receiver ventured across teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and Baltimore Ravens. He also spent some time across seas in NFL Europe.
He once shot a film on an iPhone
Matthew is regarded as somewhat of a pioneer after the director is said to be the creator behind the first film shot entirely on an iPhone 6s. In his movie, 2016's 9 Rides, the director tells the story of an Uber driver pulling a long shift on New Year's Eve.
He manifested his Academy Award win
There’s power in words, and Matthew is a prime example. On June 2, 2012, the director took to his Twitter account where he wrote, ”I’m going be nominated for an Oscar one day. Already claiming it.” In 2019, Matthew not only earned his nominations, but he and Karen Rupert took home the Best Animated Short Film for Hair Love win at the 92nd annual ceremony.