‘Young Love’ Directors Drop Animation’s First Looks

‘Young Love’ Directors Drop Animation’s First Looks

Former NFL player Matthew A. Cherry and his Supervising Director Mark Davis dropped the first looks for an upcoming HBO Max animated film series called Young Love on Thursday, July 20. The pair spoke about their unique style and message at San Diego Comic-Con. 

In 2020, Cherry earned an Oscar for his short film Hair Love, about a Black father having to learn to style his young daughter’s hair. Young Love is an extension of that story to the small screen. Issa Rae and Kid Cudi will play the parents, and new breakout actor Brooke Monroe Conaway will voice 6-year-old Zuri. In celebrating the intricacies of parenthood and the power of Black hair, the first look showed off the smooth and stylized animation, the Black soundtrack, and young Zuri asking her parents to give her a red-carpet hairstyle. 

As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Cherry spoke to the crowd about the story he wanted to tell. 

“The great thing about animation is that you can tell a story that’s specific but universal. It has themes of being a parent, being a young child trying to make your way through the world, and being a grandparent trying to deal with ageism. The packaging is obviously very specific because we’re dealing with a young Black family in Chicago. But the themes are universal,” Cherry said.

Davis and Cherry described the goal of their original short film. They opened up about wanting to give young Black children a place to celebrate their beautiful hair. Davis mainly talked about the animation side of things. Davis told the audience that the animators spent the most time on how unique hair textures and styles could be depicted on the screen, paying meticulous attention to how to express individual strands with the attention they deserved. 

“We spent hours and weeks trying to get the hair right,” Davis said. “In 2-D animation, we really haven’t seen anything like this. I think when it comes out, people are going to be blown away by how realistic and cool it looks.”

Young Love is set to debut on Max this year, and although a specific release date hasn’t been set yet, the animation creative presiding over its process is Carl Jones – best known for his work on The Boondocks and Black Dynamite.