The powerful and heartfelt film follows an African-American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.
It was made into a children’s book, illustrated by Vashti Harrison, in 2019, and has now been adapted into the audiobook narrated by Beyoncé and husband Jay Z’s eight-year-old, Blue Ivy Carter.
‘Hair Love’ preview clip goes viral
Cherry announced the news himself on Twitter on 9 November with a preview clip, which went viral once the Beyhive heard Blue Ivy’s golden voice.
South African fans weigh in on the news
South African fans shared their excitement, pointing out the universal significance of Blue Ivy narrating a book about natural hair.
“My first reaction was ‘the legend’! I was also just very excited as this would be her first big gig separate from her parents,” Lukhanyo Ngamlana, 21, said.
Blue Ivy’s narration is significant not just for who her mother is, but what she represents to other young black girls such as the main character in Hair Love, Zuri.
“Seeing that Blue Ivy was a victim of cyberbullying due to her natural hair as a toddler, this teaches her and many others never to conform to society, but rather embrace and love each — and every bit of themselves,” Zenande Mgijima, 22, said.
“As a black parent, it is important to encourage your child to believe in themselves, represent and take up space, which is something that Beyoncé has definitely done with Blue Ivy,” Unathi Makhambi, 20, said.
Beyoncé and Blue Ivy share powerful message
Earlier in 2019, Blue Ivy received the BET Her Award and also the NAACP Image Award for her work on the song Brown Skin Girl, which featured on the 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift.
For fans, Blue Ivy’s narration on the Hair Love audiobook felt like a natural progression after the mass success of Brown Skin Girl.
According to Ngamlana, the project was clearly important to the Carters.
“This was Blue Ivy’s last laugh for the years of turmoil the internet has put the legend through.
“It’s also reflection of the global shift of embracing and loving the skin and hair you have, especially for BIPOC girls, which has been something Beyoncé has preached for years.”
Ngamlana added it made his soul happy knowing his own niece now had a piece of literature — in the form of the audiobook — that could resonate with her.
Ensuring reflective representation
In February, during his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, Cherry said his reason for creating Hair Love was to normalise black hair and see better representation of it in animation.
Beyoncé fan Chad Hamner, 21, had this to say: “People of colour are often mocked, ridiculed and pressurised to change their hair to conform to the heteronormative beauty standard of what hair ‘should’ look like.
“We live in a world in which hair is heavily racialised, politicised and through the media it has become a site meant to be worked on.”