Former NFL Player Matthew A. Cherry Becomes Second Athlete To Win A Oscar

by Raheem Karim
Matthew A. Cherry
Matthew A. Cherry

Source: Karen Rupert Toliver and Matthew A. Cherry accept the award for best animated short film for “Hair Love” at the Oscars on Sunday night. AP

Former NFL Player Matthew A. Cherry Wins Best Animated Short Oscar for ‘Hair Love’

Former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry became the second athlete to ever win a Oscar joining the late Kobe Bryant, who won in 2018.

Cherry wrote and directed “Hair Love,” a six-minute sentimental story about an African American father attempting to do his daughter’s hair for the first time took home the Oscar for best animated short film.

Cherry was joined on stage with co-producer Karen Rupert Toliver, Cherry — who also directed and co-wrote the film. He dedicated his statuette to the late Kobe Bryant, saying ‘may all our second acts be as great as his,’ and to his special guest in attendance, DeAndre Arnold, saying, ‘I want to say “Hair Love” was done to normalize black hair.”

Arnold is the Texas high school student suspended for wearing dreadlocks and told he couldn’t attend his graduation ceremony in the spring unless he cut them in accordance with school dress code.

Kobe Bryant won a Oscar in the same category for ‘Dear Basketball’ in 2018

Matthew A. Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens during his time in the league.


The short film was started via kickstarter, which at the time broke the record for the highest amount raised for any short film on the platform. In 2019, “Hair Love” was adapted into a best-selling children’s book written by Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison.

Cherry posted what would have been his full acceptance speech on twitter.

To view the full list of the 2020 Oscar winners click here.

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