has weighed into a social media debate about whether colourism has impacted her career, stating she is ‘incomparable’ to fellow actress .
The 28-year-old is currently enjoying success at the box office starring in Jordan Peele’s Nope alongside .
In the horror blockbuster, the two play siblings who run a California horse ranch and discover something wonderful and sinister in the skies above.
Keke’s performance has received acclaim from critics, while some movie fans who have flocked to cinemas in the US, where it was released on Friday, have hailed it as her ‘breakthrough role’ and one that will make her a ‘household name’.
However, fans of the actress are frustrated with the idea that the Nope role will ‘make’ her career considering she has been a well-known star from a young age.
One tweet in particular has gone viral – with over 148,000 likes – after stating: ‘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.’
The tweet suggests that Zendaya’s career has propelled due to her lighter skin tone, with the 25-year-old’s most notable movie roles so far including the Spider-Man franchise, and TV series Euphoria, which earned her the outstanding lead actress in a drama series Emmy.
It sparked a huge debate on social media with many defending Keke and highlighting her career achievements, many of which are off-screen too, such as becoming the youngest talk show host at the age of 20 with her programme Just Keke.
She has also received Emmy nominations, winning outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series in 2021 for Keke Palmer’s Turnt Up with the Taylors.
Reacting to the commentary on her success, Keke tweeted: ‘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.’
She added: ‘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.’
Keke began her career as a child star playing the lead character in Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP for three seasons beginning in 2008. She rose to even greater prominence in Akeelah and the Bee, and Scream Queens, while most recent roles have included Hustlers alongside Jennifer Lopez and Pixar’s Lightyear, the Toy Story spin-off with Chris Evans and Taika Waititi.
The actress has also clocked up accolades out of film and TV, with a stint hosting Good Morning America, titled Strahan, Sara & Keke, as well as her own talk show in 2014.
Defending Keke’s achievements, one fan tweeted amid the colourism debate: ‘It’s so interesting seeing the conversation around Keke Palmer having her breakout or superstar moment and it’s wild we live in different worlds because in my household Keke been a star for forever Akeelah & The Bee was my dad’s favorite movie it went triple platinum in my home.’
Another argued: ‘Comparing Keke to Z is weird, they are two completely different people…..Zendaya had the upper hand with Disney and Euphoria..both shows were/are extremely in popular not to say Nickelodeon doesn’t create stars but Disney is a different beast.’
Refusing to pit Keke and Zendaya’s careers against each the other, one fan reasoned: ‘Why can’t they be 2 successful women/actresses who are both booked & blessed?’