10

‘Dope’, Rick Famuyiwa (2015)

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Malcolm Arakanbe. I’m a straight-A student with nearly perfect SAT scores. I play in a punk band with my friends and I’m a 90s hip hop geek.

I do. I feel extremely honored, first of all, to have been put in this position. I don’t think in my wildest dream that I’ve imagined this for my life. And the fact that I’ve been a part of a role that’s changed the way comics look,and the way they view Black women in comics. So, yeah, I feel immensely proud. At the end of the day, yes our network, and yes Warner Bros, and yes DC wants to make a great story, but there is money to be made, and I’m happy that we’ve been successful enough where they’ve seen that my playing Iris is bringing in some kind of money, or else I don’t think they would have carried this over to the film universe. And so I’m really happy that another young Black woman is getting to carry the torch, and so generations after this will remember Iris West as a Black woman. That’s a very, very cool thing. When you think of Iris West 15 years from now I’m sure it will live in people’s imaginations as a woman of color. Women, Black women especially, need to see themselves as ingenues, as beautiful, as desirable. Yes, we have our own ideas of what is beautiful, but so often what we think is cool or fashionable or beautiful is being sold to us in mediums like TV and film and advertisements, and for so long we’ve been told that being skinny and blonde and blue eyed is what’s beautiful. And it’s very much beautiful, but there are other kinds of beauty. And I think it’s not about the way that I look, it’s just Iris’ personality, her strength, her character, is being put on a platform every Tuesday night for the last three years, and people are seeing beauty in her, and that’s important so young girls that look like me feel beautiful, and feel desirable, and feel important and feel smart. I’m very proud of that, and I’m very proud that that’s continuing into the film universe.
—  Candice Patton on her pride in her legacy as the first Black version of Iris West.