Since the 2014 premier of The Flash on The CW, actress Candice Patton has asked the show runner to let her rock her natural hair in her role of Iris West. Season after season she was told no, and Iris was always shown with straight “not a strand out of place” hair. Now, FINALLY, Iris gets Candice’s natural curls- and that’s a seriously big deal.
Wonder why they kept telling her no? Well, these may be some of the reasons why Candice Patton was not allowed to wear her natural hair.
- The show’s hair stylists didn’t know how to style African American hair. You would think that someone who went to school to become a hair stylist or someone with decades of experience styling hair would know how to style all hair types. Sadly, that is not the case on the majority of film sets. Having Candice wear her hair straight is easier on a stylist who’s not comfortable managing black hair. Not to mention a lot of black actresses and models usually have to bring their own makeup because the makeup artist does not have the correct shades for their skin tone.
- Black women and men who wear their natural hair are viewed as unprofessional in the work place. It is an absolutely insane thought that the hair that grows naturally out of black peoples’ scalps is viewed as unprofessional in most work places. Whether their hair is in a neatly styled Afro, tied-back braids, or dreadlocks, Western society has deemed these type of styles unprofessional for the work place. It is never explicitly stated why these styles are unprofessional. Lately, through the advocacy black celebrities and social media campaigns, #teamnatural is starting to help more and more young black people feel good about wearing their natural hair.
[Editor’s note: We don’t actually have hidden cameras around the set. These are possibilities based on wider industry trends… but real talk, these things happen all the time and there hasn’t been a better explanation put forward.]
Patton took to her Twitter to reveal that the new Season 6 Executive Producer, Eric Wallace (a black man), is finally letting her rock her natural curls for Iris West-Allen.
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
And she looks absolutely AMAZING!!!
Representation is such an important matter, especially to the younger generation growing up now. Not only will brown-skinned kids see someone the same color as them on a superhero show, but now they will see someone who is wearing their hair naturally.
I have two biracial daughters who have beautiful, long, curly hair. My oldest hates her curly hair because it takes a long time and many products to manage, but mainly because we live in an area where curly hair is rare. She’s surrounded by kids in her school who all have straight hair, and she feels different with her curls.
With the animated short Hair Love, featuring a story of a father learning how to care for his young daughters natural hair, and now with episode 5 of Season 6 of The Flash, my daughter will see her type of curls represented on the big and little screen.
I hope it inspires her and many others with natural hair to fully embrace and love their hair.
Author: Elle Stewart
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