Candice Patton is speaking out about her experiences on the set of The CW's The Flash. During an interview with HypeBae, Patton opened up about how she clashed with The CW because of issues related to her hair. Patton, a Black woman, explained that the network didn't take her needs into account when it came to getting her hair done for filming.
Patton touched upon how she previously took The CW to task for their lack of resources when it comes to people of color on their sets. When asked when she first became aware of certain biases in her career as a Black woman, Patton said that she, unfortunately, is quite used to dealing with issues of this nature in her personal life. She added that she took on a new understanding when she became a series regular on The Flash. (Patton has been on the series since its 2014 premiere.) The actor said that she was initially "afraid to speak up" about these issues for fear of it affecting her career, but she realized that she needs to use her voice to shed light on this matter.
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"After a while, I really understood my presence and the value I brought to the show, and I felt less afraid to speak up for myself and shed light on areas that needed a closer look," Patton explained. "I spend nine months out of the year shooting 14-hour days and at some point, it became necessary to speak out and use my voice." She went on to say that she learned firsthand how The CW can be neglectful when it comes to the needs of their talent. Patton said that issues arose when she tried to find a salon in Vancouver, which is where The Flash is filmed, to do her hair. When she wasn't able to find a salon that suited her needs, she turned to one in Los Angeles when she was in town on break from the show's shooting schedule.
"I would fly back and forth to LA anytime I had a couple of days off," the actor said. "So I just decided to get my hair treated and done at a local salon I had been to and trusted in Los Angeles. The studio wouldn’t cover the costs for me to do this at my preferred salon." She added that the production reimbursed her once, but noted that they would not be able to do so again in the future. They encouraged her to find a salon in Vancouver since they would reimburse the costs in that case, but that didn't account for Patton's struggles.
"And I’m sure they have logistical reasons for this policy, but the blind spot is not understanding that my options as a Black person are limited in certain places," she added. "My white counterparts can likely and easily find a salon they feel comfortable going to here, but I can’t. I think there just has to be more in-depth conversations so that productions aren’t limited to these hard and fast rules that could overlook their talent’s needs." Patton shared some of her hopes for The CW and the entertainment industry in general when it comes to making sets more inclusive for all talent. She said that there needs to be more diversity in front of and behind the camera. The Flash star also shared, "There needs to be a concerted effort towards education. Reforming and reinforcing education that is based on inclusivity is necessary, because Hollywood has not had to think about the on-set experience from the minority perspective."