Why Iris West Rocking Natural Curls on The Flash Makes Me Emotional
Means a lot to wear my curls on The Flash. And I know it will to so many of you who look like me. ➿
We asked and our EP @ewrote gave me the go ahead.
— Candice Patton (@candicepatton) August 27, 2019
Many of you already know that, on this site, I am the Iris West/Candice Patton stan, and when it was announced that Eric Wallace would take over as showrunner for the CW show The Flash, I was really excited because bringing in a Black showrunner gave me hope that it would mean bringing more in-universe Blackness to the West family. So, when actress Candice Patton posted this picture rocking her natural curls on social media, I was already seeing that hope pay off.
Patton has been very outspoken about race throughout her tenure on The Flash, in many ways out of necessity due to the unending harassment and trolling from people who are still big mad after so many seasons. She has praised the show for its support, but also been frank about the issues, such as the lack of African-American/Black female writers on the show, despite there having been multiple Black women on the show. She’s also talked about how important it is to have a makeup department and stylist who knows how to handle different skin tones and hair textures.
The curls matter because they’re a sign of care both behind the screen and in front. They matter because women of color and other marginalized actors need to know that their team will support them and understand that this is part of them making the character feel more real to them. To me, this shows that an actress that I really care about and respect is being heard, and that matters.
It may seem silly to a lot of people to seem so emotionally invested in a character in The CW’s superhero shows, but I “grew up,” in terms of understanding how Black women were treated in genre television, watching talented Black actresses be underserved on shows I loved. From Angel Coulby on Merlin to Kat Graham on The Vampire Diaries, it stuck with me, because if these beautiful, talented women can be so ignored and uncared for at times by fandom (and sometimes it seems by the writers) that it just reinforces that even when you see women like you in those roles, it doesn’t mean they are going to be given the best.
Candice Patton is the first actress of that sort who I actively followed from the beginning, being fully aware of the internet backlash, which is why I want her to win. Every win for her in terms of makeup, styling, and storylines are a win for Gwen, for Martha, for Bonnie, for Tara, for Hale, for James, for Josie, for Starfire, and for all the Black characters I saw, and still see, get mistreated. It feels amazing to watch.
So, thank you to Eric Wallace for listening, and thank you, Candice Patton, for always advocating for yourself and making Iris a beacon of hope for the future.
Next is an arch-rival, and some Black girlfriends!
(image: The CW)
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