Keke Palmer

Lauren Keyana "Keke" Palmer (born August 26, 1993) is an American actress, singer and television personality. Known for playing leading and character roles in comedy-drama productions, she has received various accolades throughout her career, including a Primetime Emmy Award, six NAACP Image Awards, and nominations for a Daytime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. An influential figure in popular culture,[1] she was included on Time magazine's list of most influential people in the world in 2019.[2]

Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer comi con by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Palmer in 2015
Born
Lauren Keyana Palmer

(1993-08-26) August 26, 1993 (age 28)
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
  • television personality
Years active2004–present
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
Labels
Associated acts
Websitekekepalmer.com

Palmer made her acting debut with a cameo role in Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004). She later appeared in the television film The Wool Cap (2004) and had her breakthrough starring in the drama film Akeelah and the Bee (2006). She progressed as a prominent child actress with roles in Madea's Family Reunion (2006), Jump In! (2007), The Longshots (2008) and Shrink (2009). She released her debut studio album, So Uncool, in 2007.

Palmer received widespread recognition for her roles on Nickelodeon, such as portraying the titular character in the sitcom True Jackson, VP (2008–2011), providing the voice of Aisha in the Nickelodeon revival of Winx Club (2011–2014), and headlining the television film Rags (2012). Following her work in the musical drama film Joyful Noise (2012) and the animated adventure film Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), Palmer made her transition to mature roles with the VH1 original biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (2013), and subsequently starred in the thriller film Animal (2014), the comedy horror series Scream Queens (2015–2016), the drama series Berlin Station (2017–2019), the slasher series Scream (2019) and the crime drama film Hustlers (2019). In 2021, she received a Primetime Emmy Award for her roles in the series Keke Palmer's Turnt Up with the Taylors.

Since So Uncool, Palmer has released three extended plays: Lauren (2016), Virgo Tendencies, Pt. 1 (2019) and Virgo Tendencies, Pt. 2 (2020). She hosted the talk show Just Keke (2014) and co-hosted the talk show Strahan, Sara and Keke (2019–2020) alongside Sara Haines and Michael Strahan; Strahan, Sara and Keke earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host. In 2020, she hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, becoming the first woman of color to host the event.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Lauren Keyana Palmer was born on August 26, 1993,[4][5] in Harvey, Illinois.[6] She grew up in a Catholic household.[7][8] Her parents, Sharon and Lawrence "Larry" Palmer, who met in drama school, had both worked as professional actors before settling into full-time jobs. Her father works for a polyurethane company, and her mother is a high school teacher who works with autistic children; he is also a Catholic deacon.[9][10][11] Palmer first sang in a church but earned exposure performing at a stage show at a Chicago tourist destination. In 2002, Palmer auditioned for a stage production of The Lion King at age nine.[9]

CareerEdit

2000–2012: Child acting and rise to prominenceEdit

 
Palmer performing in March 2008

In 2004, she gained her first film role in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, in which she played the niece of rapper and actress Queen Latifah. In 2005, Palmer signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. That same year, she was featured in the television film Knights of the South Bronx, as well as starring in the television series Second Time Around and ER. That same year, producer Ralph Farquhar helped Palmer book the starring role in a Disney Channel pilot titled Keke and Jamal. The pilot was not picked up, and never aired.[12]

In 2006, Palmer had her acting breakthrough starring in the film Akeelah and the Bee, playing the titular Akeelah, a bright 11-year-old who comes from a poor neighborhood and competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.[13] Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times wrote that Palmer "makes an appealing heroine".[14] For the role, she won a Black Reel Award and an NAACP Image Award.[15][16] She also had a supporting role in the 2006 film Madea's Family Reunion.[17] The following year, Palmer appeared in the thriller Cleaner.[18] She portrayed a lead role in the television film Jump In![19] Palmer also starred in two television programs Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Just Jordan. Palmer released her debut album So Uncool on September 18, 2007.[20] The album charted at number 86 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[21]

In 2008, Palmer began her starring role as the title character in Nickelodeon sitcom True Jackson, VP. Palmer also wrote and performed the theme song for the series. Palmer earned $20,000 per episode of True Jackson, VP, which made her the fourth-highest-paid child star on television.[22] In July 2009, designer Jane Siskin created a Walmart fashion line inspired by True Jackson, VP, with all the designs being approved by Palmer.[23] She also played the lead role in the 2008 film The Longshots.[24] True Jackson, VP ended in 2011.[25] Palmer debuted as the voice of Aisha in Nickelodeon's revival of Winx Club.[26] She received an NAACP Image Award nomination for her voiceover work.[27] In 2012, Palmer starred in the film Joyful Noise, released in January 2012. She produced and starred in Rags, a television musical film, as well as voiced Peaches in Ice Age: Continental Drift.[28] In July 2012, Palmer released the single "You Got Me" featuring Kevin McCall. The video for the single was released on July 11, 2012.[29] She released a self-titled mixtape Keke Palmer on October 1, 2012.[30]

2013–present: Mainstream successEdit

In 2013, Palmer portrayed Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas in the TLC biopic, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,[31] which aired in October on VH1.[32] She next starred in the horror film Animal; it was released on June 17, 2014.[33] She then recurred during the second season of Showtime's drama series Masters of Sex, portraying Coral, a nanny.[34] That same year, Palmer hosted a daytime talk show on BET titled Just Keke.[35] In doing so, she became the youngest talk show host in television history; the show itself has been regarded as "groundbreaking" and "refreshing".[36] In September 2014, Palmer became the first African American to star as the title character in the musical Cinderella on Broadway.[37] She performed her final show during the closing night of the show's run on January 4, 2015.[38] Later that year, Palmer announced that she had signed with Island Records.[39]

 
Palmer at PaleyFest in 2016

Between September 2015 and December 2016, she starred as Zayday Williams in the horror comedy series Scream Queens, created by Ryan Murphy.[40] In January 2016, Palmer starred as Marty Maraschino in the television special Grease: Live.[41] Rolling Stone's Britany Spanos regarded Palmer's performance "a standout" and highlighted her "assertiveness, confidence and biting sense of humor".[42] In June, Palmer released Waited to Exhale, an album she wrote during her time on True Jackson, VP that went unreleased due to label issues and her "anxiety-driven hesitance".[43] On November 4, Palmer released her second extended play, titled Lauren, with a 17-minute short film of the same name being released exclusively on Billboard's website.[44] In 2017, Palmer released her memoir, I Don't Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice.[45] That same year, she joined the drama series Berlin Station during its second season.[46]

In April 2019, Palmer began guest co-hosting ABC's daytime talk show Strahan and Sara, sporadically filling in for co-host Michael Strahan and more regularly beginning in June during co-host Sara Haines' maternity leave.[47] She joined the slasher television series Scream as a series regular in its third season, portraying a character named Kym Johnson,[48] which premiered on July 8, 2019.[49] On August 26, Palmer became a third permanent co-host of Strahan and Sara, which was then re-titled Strahan, Sara and Keke.[50] In September, Palmer starred as a "lovestruck stripper" in the crime drama film Hustlers, directed by Lorene Scafaria.[51] She sang the song "Giants" as part of a virtual group named True Damage, in which she voices a character named Senna, in the video game League of Legends for the 2019 World Championship.[52] The song features singers Becky G and Soyeon as well as rappers Duckwrth and Thutmose as the other group members.[53] In November, True Damage performed the song live during the opening ceremony of the finals.[54]

Strahan, Sara and Keke was taken off the air in March 2020.[55] Palmer later received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host alongside Haines and Strahan.[56] That same year, Palmer began starring in a web television comedy series titled Turnt Up with the Taylors, in which she portrays all of the characters.[57] She released an extended play titled Virgo Tendencies, Pt. 1 on August 28.[58] On August 30, Palmer hosted the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, during which she also performed her song "Snack".[59][60] She released a follow-up EP – Virgo Tendencies, Pt. 2 – in December 2020.[61] The following year, Palmer won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her performance in Turnt Up with the Taylors.[62]

Public imageEdit

Philanthropy and activismEdit

Palmer works with the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of the American charity Cool To Be Smart program, speaking to children about the importance of learning. She is also a supporter of Urban Farming and the Girl Scouts.[63] She has worked with such charities as the YWCA and with Saving Our Daughters.[63] As of 2010, Palmer has been a representative for the Saving Our Daughters project, an anti-bullying campaign.[64]

Palmer was included in the Time's 100 Next list in November 2019,[65] which "spotlights 100 rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, science, health and more."[66] She is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.[67] In 2020, she marched in Hollywood, California, as part of the George Floyd protests.[68] That same year, she addressed the movement during her opening monologue at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards.[69]

ArtistryEdit

Palmer's first studio album, So Uncool, was heavily influenced by contemporary R&B, being described as "bright, bouncy, and melodic enough to appeal to teens and pre-teens. Fans of dancey teen pop will want to give this auspicious debut a listen".[70] Palmer was heavily influenced by American R&B singers Ciara, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, as well as girl group TLC.[71] Among her urban influences, Palmer also cites pop artists Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne as influences.[72]

Personal lifeEdit

Following the release of her single "I Don't Belong to You" on October 25, 2015, Palmer explained:

I don't belong to anyone else but myself. I have to make my own decisions. Happiness is defined by me. My sexuality is defined by me. And that can change, and this can change, and I can make it what I want to make it because I'm the one who makes that choice. So that's what 'I Don't Belong to You' is saying. This song feels right. It feels right, and it's telling who I am. And it captures my identity.[73]

Palmer has struggled with anxiety and depression.[74] In 2019, as part of the #YouKnowMe campaign, she shared via Twitter that she had an abortion.[75] On December 1, 2020, Palmer announced that she has been dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome her entire life.[76]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Barbershop 2: Back in Business Gina's niece
2006 Akeelah and the Bee Akeelah Anderson
Madea's Family Reunion Nikki Grady
2007 Cleaner Rose Cutler
2008 The Longshots Jasmine Plummer
Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare Crystal Tortoise (voice)
2009 Shrink Jemma
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Peaches (voice)
Joyful Noise Olivia Hill
Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom Aisha (voice)
2013 Curdled Tara Short film
Winx Club 3D: Magical Adventure Aisha (voice)
2014 Animal Alissa
Imperial Dreams Samaara
2015 Brotherly Love Jackie
2016 Ice Age: Collision Course Peaches (voice)
2018 Pimp Wednesday
2019 Hustlers Mercedes
2020 2 Minutes of Fame Sky
2022 Nope TBA Post-production
TBA Alice Alice

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Cold Case Arlene (1939) Episode: "The Letter"
Strong Medicine Sarina Episode: "Healing Touch"
The Wool Cap Lou Television film
2005 ER Janell Parkerson Episode: "The Show Must Go On"
Knights of the South Bronx Kenya Russell Television film
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tasha Wright Episode: "Storm"
Second Time Around Sharlene Episode: "Big Bank, Little Bank"
2007 Jump In! Mary Thomas Television film
Just Jordan C. C. Livingston Episode: "Fame Game"
Tyler Perry's House of Payne Nikki Grady Episode: "Bully and the Beast"
2008–2011 True Jackson, VP True Jackson Main role
2010 The Cleveland Show Brandi (voice) Episode: "Harder, Better, Faster, Browner"
2011 Degrassi: The Next Generation Herself Episodes: "Boom Boom Pow: Part 1" and "Boom Boom Pow: Part 2"
2011–2015 Winx Club Aisha (voice) Main role (seasons 3–6)
2012 Abducted: The Carlina White Story Carlina White Television film
Rags Kadee Worth Television film
2013 90210 Elizabeth Royce Harwood Recurring role (season 5)
CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas Television film
Full Circle Chan'dra Stevens Episodes: "Jace & Chan'dra" and "Chan'dra & Cliff"
Key & Peele Malia Obama's anger translator Episode: "Obama Shutdown"
2014 Family Guy Pam (voice) Episode: "Baby Got Black"
Grey's Anatomy Sheryll Jeffries Episode: "We Gotta Get Out of This Place"
Just Keke Herself Host
Masters of Sex Coral Anders Recurring role (Season 2)
Single Ladies Herself Episode: "The Girl Most Likely To..."
The Trip to Bountiful Thelma Television film
2015–2016 Scream Queens Zayday Williams Main role
2016 Bubble Guppies Stylee (voice) Episode: "Guppy Style!"
Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade Peaches (voice) Television special
Grease: Live Marty Maraschino Television special
Project Mc2 Nov8 agent Episodes: "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Mission Totally Possible"
Raymond & Lane Keyana Episode: "Lords of the Land"
Real Husbands of Hollywood Herself Episode: "The Suitor"
2017–2019 Berlin Station April Lewis Main role (seasons 2–3)
Star Gigi Nixon Recurring role (seasons 2–3)
2019 Robot Chicken Fräulein Haupstein (voice) Episode: "Musya Shakhtyorov in: Honeyboogers"
Scream Kym Main role (season 3)
2019–2020 Strahan, Sara and Keke Herself Co-host
2020 The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II Herself Television special
MTV Video Music Awards Herself Host
Nickelodeon's Unfiltered Herself Episode: "Honey Bears Chew Gumballs!"
Singled Out Herself Host
2021 Hit Job Brynn Morris Podcast series
2022 The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins (voice) Post-production

InternetEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2017 That's the Gag[77] Keke Smith Main role
2018 Good Mythical Morning Herself Guest role (season 13, episode 38)
2020 Turnt Up with the Taylors The Taylors Main role
VMA's 2020 Advertisement True Jackson

StageEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2014–2015 Cinderella Ella The Broadway Theatre

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Concert toursEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
2005 Young Artist Award Best Performance in TV Movie, Miniseries or Special – Leading Young Actress The Wool Cap Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Won
2006 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Most Promising Performer Akeelah and the Bee
Black Movie Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
2007 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Young Actress Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Actress Won
Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
2008 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actress Cleaner
Black Reel Awards Best Actress The Longshots
2009 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special True Jackson, VP Won
2010 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special
Kids Choice Awards Favorite TV Actress Nominated
BET Awards YoungStars Award Won
2011 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actress Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special Won
BET Awards YoungStars Award Nominated
2012 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special Won
BET Awards YoungStars Award Joyful Noise Nominated
2013 Black Reel Awards Best Actress in a Television Miniseries or Movie Abducted: The Carlina White Story
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special Winx Club: Enchantix
BTVA Feature Film Voice Acting Award Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film (shared with Ice Age Cast) Ice Age: Continental Drift
BET Awards Youngstars Awards Keke Palmer
Chief Keef-"Keke Palmer" Dedication
2014 Black Reel Awards Best Actress in a Television Miniseries or Movie CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
BET Awards Youngstars Awards[80] Keke Palmer Won
2015 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special[81] The Trip To Bountiful Nominated
Spirit of the League Awards Gala Spirit Of The League Champion Award[82] · [83] Philanthropy Won
2016 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture[84] · [85] Brotherly Love Nominated
2020 Shorty Awards Best Celebrity Herself Nominated
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host Herself Nominated
2021 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Keke Palmer's Turnt Up with the Taylors Won

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