Women of color from the DC Universe including SHAZAM!'s Meagan Good, Batwoman's Javicia Leslie, The Flash's Candice Patton, DC's Legends of Tomorrow's Tala Ashe, Black Lightning's Nafessa Williams and Chantal Thuy, and Titans' Anna Diop and Damaris Lewis assembled Saturday to discuss their unique experiences while navigating Hollywood for DC FanDome's BAWSE Females of Color within the DC Universe panel. Moderated by DJ D-Nice and singer/actress Estelle, the discussion touched on a variety of subjects including fan reactions, why representation matters, and what the word BAWSE means to them.
For Patton, who plays The Flash heroine Iris West, being a BAWSE means owning who you are and using that power to also stick up for those around you. Opening up about her own experience with trying to stand up for herself and others, Patton explained why she doesn't mind being called difficult if that means sticking up for what's right.
"Being a BAWSE, especially a BAWSE as a Black woman [and as a] woman of color, means standing in that...Being okay with being labeled as difficult if it means that I have to stand up for what's right and do the right thing," she said. "I've had to learn as I get older to not be afraid as a Black woman to speak up because I've been taught so much in my life to be quiet, be grateful, don't disturb too much, just go with the flow. In the last several years of my life, I've been able to find my strength and [have been] able to stand up for myself and for others, more importantly."
She continued, "I think often, we get labeled as divas [or] difficult. I love that we changed that title into BAWSE because it's really being a boss. When I go to work, I'm a boss. I'm a boss for me and I'm a boss for everyone around me and I will stand up for you. And if that means I have to take on a label as being difficult to do the right thing, then that's what it takes. And I think that's what we have to do as Black women, is be bosses, be bosses for each other. So I'm proud to be a boss."
Thuy, who plays the shapeshifter Grace Choi on Black Lightning, stressed the importance of using one's platform for good and creating change for others. "Being a BAWESE means following your heart and also being of service to others. Actresses who use their craft not just as a way of exposure, but as a craft, digging deep and using it in a way that can change lives," the actress said.
The panel went on to discuss representation and how important it is for young kids to see themselves reflected in media. "We have to get this right," DC's Legends of Tomorrow's Tala Ashe said, noting that the show hired a Muslim-American writer once she signed on. "Representation matters so much. It's important that little brown children all over the world are seeing someone like me and [think],"Oh, that opens the possibilities."
"Little girls, when they see my character, they see themselves," added Black Lightning's Nafessa Williams. "In the hood, wearing cornrows. We [have never] had superheroes who [have looked like us before."
BAWSE Females of Color is part of Warner Bros. DC FanDome event taking place on Aug. 22. The panel will be available for replay during the second half of the event, kicking off Sept. 12.