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‘Baby, THIS, is Keke Palmer’: Keke Palmer Shuts Down Colorism Debate That Pitted Her Career Against Zendaya

Keke Palmer won’t be allowing anyone to use her career as a barometer of success, or as an example of “how colorism plays out in Hollywood.” 

While basking in the success of her latest film “Nope” debuting with $44 million at the domestic box office, Palmer became a part of a viral Twitter debate when people compared her and actress Zendaya’s careers to each other.

Keke Palmer (L) and Zendaya (R). Photo: Keke/Instagram, Zendaya/Instagram)

Both women have built successful careers starting out in the entertainment industry as child actors and singers. Even now as adults, both women have gone on to secure leading roles in television and film, and Emmy wins.

Yet on July 23, a fan of the actresses stirred a slew of strong reactions after suggesting that Palmer’s career is not viewed as mainstream as Zendaya’s. “I’d like someone to do a deep-drive on the similarities and differences between Keke Palmer and Zendaya’s careers. This may be one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood. They were both child-stars, but their mainstream popularity is very different,” wrote Twitter user Melinda Eg. 

The individual went on to write that while several others may have viewed Palmer’s role in “Nope” as her “breakout” moment as an actress, that certainly was not the case. By and large, scores of Palmer’s fans made mention that at just 12 years old, she was thrust into a new level of stardom after landing the lead role in the critically acclaimed film “Akeelah and the Bee.”

Seeing that she was a trending topic, Palmer chimed in with one goal in mind: shutting the chatter by laying out fetes she has accomplished. In a tweet, she wrote, “A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone. I’m the youngest talk show host ever. The first Black woman to star in her own show on Nickelodeon, & the youngest & first Black Cinderella on broadway. I’m an incomparable talent. Baby, THIS, is Keke Palmer.”

In a follow-up tweet she continued, “I’ve been a leading lady since I was 11 years old. I have over 100+ credits, and currently starring in an original screenplay that’s the number one film at the box office #NOPE. I’ve had a blessed career thus far, I couldn’t ask for more but God continues to surprise me.”

Palmer’s fans zealously reacted to her response. One person wrote, “What Keke said is not that colorism doesn’t exist, not that Zendaya doesn’t have privilege, but that you’re comparing where there’s really no comparison. She has the longevity, opportunities, and respect in the skin she’s in but you see a victim where there is victory.”

Another commented, “Keke cleared! She said discourse dolls PIPE DOWN. y’all really tried to make such an important moment in her career about Zendaya. Colorism is real & should be talked about *extensively* but if those convos only happen when you see dark skin BW excelling, something is wrong.”

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