Nickelodeon Pulls New Animated Series After Internet Calls Out Its Striking Similarities to Hair Love

Illustration for article titled Nickelodeon Pulls New Animated Series After Internet Calls Out Its Striking Similarities to iHair Love/i
Image: Nickelodeon Press

Nickelodeon will be removing a new animated Nick Jr. show, Made By Maddie, from its schedule to look further into the “creative journey” of its development, after releasing a trailer for it this week that left Black Twitter clocking many similarities to Matthew A. Cherry’s Oscar-winning short Hair Love.

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The new show was set to premiere on September 13 and featured an animated little Black girl with natural hair and a pink hair bow, a mom with a fro, as well as a dad with locs, and a grey cat—just like the central character in Hair Love. 

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Cherry himself appeared to acknowledge the many details that lined up with his own animated story, which he signed a deal with HBO Max to develop into a 12-episode series earlier this year.


“It’s wild. Coulda been a dog, fish, anything,” Cherry tweeted of the Nick Jr. series’ grey cat.

In a statement on Friday about the controversy, Nickelodeon said it was aware of the concerns being raised on social media and is taking them seriously.

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From The Hollywood Reporter:

“Made by Maddie is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media, a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series. Since announcing the show’s premiere date this week, we have been listening closely to the commentary, criticism and concern coming from both viewers and members of the creative community,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.

“In response, and out of respect to all voices in the conversation, we are removing the show from our schedule as we garner further insight into the creative journey of the show. We are grateful to Silvergate Media for all of their work. And we hold Matthew A. Cherry and the wonderful and inspiring Hair Love in the highest regard.”

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The production studio behind Made by Maddie has said the creation is all their own, and told the L.A. Times that the white woman who created the show worked with multiple Black creatives to develop it.

“As creators ourselves, we have the utmost respect and admiration for Matthew A. Cherry and ‘Hair Love,’ and our hope is that when people watch our show, they will see it is its own story with its own adventures,” CEO of Silvergate Media, Waheed Alli, said in a statement.

Writer, speaker, finesser, and a fly dresser. Jamaican-American currently chilling in Chicago.

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DISCUSSION

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Nick at least was willing to pull the show and take a harder look, so that’s something when they could have doubled down and gone “So what?” I think that there’s too many links myself and Nick doesn’t want none of that smoke, so it may be gone on that note alone.

If they were indeed aware of Hair Love, why did not they not take a step back, take what they had and consulted Cherry first?. Targeting young children of color early on and getting them to see and realize that they have nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to hair is very important, because as they enter preschool and onwards, they are going to be challanged. I think there’s room in that sort of market for more then one story.