Blue Ivy Carter has many accomplishments under her belt, including her win as the youngest recipient of a BET Award. Now, she can add children’s book narrator to that list.
The eight-year-old daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z is now the audiobook narrator for Hair Love, the children’s book based off of Matthew A. Cherry’s 2019 animated short film. Cherry himself revealed the news this morning via Twitter, posting the link to a sample of the audiobook.
A Quick ‘Hair Love’ Synopsis
Hair Love revolves itself around an African-American father named Stephen and his young daughter, Zuri. Zuri watches an instructional video to help her style her natural, thick hair. After a failed attempt, Stephen swoops in to help Zuri achieve the look she wants. When he finds it to be too difficult, he puts a beanie on her head and calls it day, but this hurts Zuri, so she runs to her room in tears.
Feeling regretful, Stephen sits outside of her room, and hears the video that Zuri watched. Zuri opens the door and shows her dad the video; it is then revealed to the viewer that the woman guiding the tutorial is his wife, also Zuri’s mother. This empowers Stephen to try again and this time, the look comes out successful.
The next scenes show the two of them in a hospital room as they visit Zuri’s mother. Due to her illness, the mom has lost her hair, causing her to wear a scarf on her head. Zuri then gives her mother a picture that she drew of her, showcasing her beauty even if she lost her hair. The film ends with the whole family in a group hug.
Hair Love went on to win Best Animated Short Film at this year’s Academy Awards. Following its successes, Cherry adapted it into a physical children’s book, with illustrations done by Vashti Harrison. Additionally, a 12-episode spinoff series called Young Love was announced this summer and will steam on HBO Max.
The Importance of ‘Hair Love’ and Blue Ivy Carter’s Involvement
During Cherry’s Oscars acceptance speech, he highlighted that with Hair Love, they “wanted to see more representation in animation” and wanted to normalize Black hair.
In recent years, Black kids have made headlines for their school’s not accepting their hair. Earlier this year, a Texas high school suspended senior DeAndre Arnold after refusing to cut his dreadlocks, following a new change to his school’s dress code. This led to Arnold receiving much support from high-profile people, such as Bernice King and Alicia Keys. In addition, Cherry invited Arnold and his mother to be his special guests at the Academy Awards.
Blue Ivy Carter herself has received criticism for her hair. Back in 2014, when she was just two years old, a Change.org petition was created, calling for Beyoncé to brush Blue Ivy’s hair. The petition turned out to be a joke, but several signers left mean comments; one even said that they “hate when a mother looks like a million dollars with their hair all done and the child looks like they haven’t seen a comb since they were born.”
Last year, Blue Ivy and Beyoncé posted photos on Instagram during a mother-daughter outing, showing Blue Ivy’s hair all grown out, possibly being a subtle clap-back to those who were rude towards her.
With these instances, I think that it is a great thing that Blue Ivy became the audiobook narrator for Hair Love; I feel like it gives both inspiration and confidence to young, Black kids who may have gone through something similar as her in their lifetime, myself included. As a child who received hate at such a young age, this shows that Blue Ivy is not afraid of showing off her natural hair and gives it much love, which is what the short film and book are all about.
The Hair Love audio book is available now on Audible Plus.
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