Keke Palmer already told us who she is in her memoir and Amazon story collection
On this day as Beyoncé drops her long-awaited album Renaissance, let’s talk about Keke Palmer, who dominated the entertainment news this week, and tie that news to books.
Coming off a weekend spooked by Jordan Peele’s western thriller Nope, media attention focused squarely on star Keke Palmer. Rarely does a megahit have three actors of color on billboards, which included Keke, Daniel Kaluuya, and Steven Yeun, but allegations of colorism overshadowed the Twitterverse similar to Jean Jacket in the film.
A viral tweet where a tweeter brought up colorism in why Keke’s success may appear to not have the “mainstream popularity” Zendaya’s has struck a debate. The tweeter implied that Keke didn’t have the career like that of Zendaya, a star in her own right who was irrelevant to any conversation on Nope, but tried to clarify in the Twitter thread that the main tweet was to counter the remarks from people who say Nope is Keke’s breakout role.
In a clapback, Keke reminded us about her career and how she’s an “incomparable talent.” As media outlets reported on the story, many failed to point to her memoir and story collection that tell us about the career Lauren Keyana “Keke” Palmer has created for herself.
The tweeter implied that Keke is considered a star in fewer households compared to Zendaya, who is biracial and has a lighter complexion. Though both have kid sitcom roots, both these shining Black female stars do indeed lead different careers, and Keke set the record straight saying the tweet perpetuated colorism to even compare the two. She went on to remind us that she was the first Black Cinderella on Broadway and the youngest talk show host ever, to name a few accomplishments.
As the articles came out about the Twitter clarification and the timeline of Keke’s extraordinary career, barely any articles mentioned her books. Yes, like most celebrities, Keke received help writing those books, but still she has her name on several books that are available in print, e-book, and audio formats showcasing her dramatic voice punching up the personality on page.
Along with Nope, Keke lent her voice to another summer blockbuster out in theaters now: Lightyear, the Pixar animated film serving as a precursor to the Toy Story series that opened in June and so far grossed $117 million in the domestic box office. She also uses her voice in the audio recordings of her short story collection “Southern Belle Insults” that she released with Amazon Publishing last year and wrote with best-selling romance novelist Jasmine Guillory. The stories were based on her Instagram alter egos.
In My Dear Friend Janet, Keke uses her high-pitched drama queen narrator voice for Lady Miss who’s telling the story of a woman named Janet going through her day trying to come out of her shell but second-guesses her scripted plans. Then Janet agrees to put on a wig and transforms into Lady Miss, a story that continues in From the Desk of Lady Miss.
To back up her response, one can glean the facts of her career from child actor getting industry recognition (she remains the youngest actor to receive a SAG Award nomination at age 11 for her 2004 role in The Wool Cap) to grown-up star still getting industry recognition in her memoir I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice from Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books.
The 2017 book starts off telling her unlikely rise to stardom with her mother helping her take risks to get noticed by people like Ice Cube when the producer was looking for a young actress to play Queen Latifah’s character’s niece in the 2005 film Beauty Shop. A year later, buzz started to build for her starring role in Akeelah and the Bee, as a Black preteen from South Los Angeles who gets coached by Laurence Fishburne’s character to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Entertainers, particularly those of color, for example, have to prove themselves time and time again as random social media users may have their opinionated tweets go viral that forces the stars to respond to crush the negative publicity. Keke had to respond on the weekend Nope debuted in movie theaters at No. 1 because all eyes were on her.
But like many celebrity bookwomen, she had already told us who she is and how she operates in her memoir and story collection. Books sometimes are the forgotten vehicle competing with the internet when we want to learn about an individual. Excluding the unauthorized biographies, although those can be helpful at times, the books with the celebrities’ names on the book covers and their voices on the audiobooks are the stories those celebrities approved.
Those stories were carried out through their literary and business agents. They have a say on who helps them co-author those stories. That being said, her co-authors also deserve the credit, but those stories are still from Keke, who graced us with storytelling talents on top of being one of the youngest people, regardless of diversity markers, to be dominating Hollywood.