Keke Palmer

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Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer.jpg
Palmer performing at Keesler Air Force Base in March 2008
Born Lauren Keyana Palmer
(1993-08-26) August 26, 1993 (age 21)
Harvey, Illinois, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Actress
  • television presenter
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2002-present
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • piano

Lauren Keyana "Keke" Palmer (born August 26, 1993) is an American actress, television presenter, singer, and songwriter. Palmer was born in Harvey, Illinois and raised in Robbins, Illinois. After Palmer's film debut, Palmer and her family moved to California to help her pursue a career in acting. Palmer released her debut album, So Uncool, on September 18, 2007 through Atlantic Records. The album failed to chart on the US Billboard 200 but did chart at number 85 on the R&B chart. The album was preceded by the lead single "Keep It Movin'".

Apart from her work in music, Palmer is also a recognized actress. She made her acting debut in the 2004 film Barbershop 2: Back in Business and rose to prominence in 2006 for her breakthrough role in Akeelah and the Bee as well as starring in Madea's Family Reunion. Palmer has also starred in films such as The Longshots (2008) and Shrink (2009). In 2012, Palmer starred in four films Joyful Noise, Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and Virgin Mary. Besides films, Palmer has also starred in the television films Knights of the South Bronx (2005), Jump In! (2007), and Rags (2012) amongst others. Palmer has also had numerous television roles including the lead role in Nickelodeon sitcom True Jackson, VP. Palmer earned $20,000 per episode of True Jackson, VP, which made her the fourth highest-paid child star on television.[1]

Early life[edit]

Palmer was born on August 26, 1993[2] in Harvey, Illinois.[3] Her parents, Sharon and 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 children with mental disabilities.[4][5] Palmer first sang in a church but earned exposure performing at a stage show at a Chicago tourist destination.[2]


2002–06: Films[edit]

In 2002, Palmer auditioned for a stage production of The Lion King at age nine.[4] In 2004, she gained her first film role in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, in which she played the niece of American rapper and actress Queen Latifah. After starring in the film, Palmer and her family moved to California, so Palmer could pursue a career in acting.[2] Palmer then pursued a career in singing. In 2003, she participated in American Juniors, the American Idol spin-off series, but her audition scenes were edited out and the show was canceled that year. In 2005, Palmer signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. Her debut single, "All My Girlz", is featured in the Akeelah and the Bee soundtrack. In 2005, Palmer was featured in the television film Knights of the South Bronx, as well as starring in three television programs Second Time Around and ER. In 2005 signed with Disney Channel to starring the show Keke & Jamal, but the pilot was unaired and Palmer left the channel.

On November 18, 2006, she performed at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California for VH1's Save the Music Battle of the High School Marching Bands competition, marking her first ever stadium performance in front of thousands of people. In addition, as part of her contract with Disney, Palmer sang the songs "It's My Turn Now" and "Jumpin'" featured in the Disney Channel Original Movie Jump In!, in which she stars as Mary, the love interest to Corbin Bleu's character. In 2006, Palmer was featured in the music video for the Ludacris and Mary J. Blige song "Runaway Love", in which she starred as a pregnant 11-year-old girl. That same year, she recorded a song entitled "Tonight" which was featured as the first song in the end credits of Night at the Museum. Besides focusing on her music career, Palmer had the lead role in the 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee, in which she played a bright 11-year-old who comes from a poor neighborhood and competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Palmer also had a supporting role in the 2006 film Madea's Family Reunion.[6]

2007–10: So Uncool and True Jackson, VP[edit]

In 2007, Palmer starred in many acting roles, she was a supporting act in the thriller Cleaner alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes.[7] Palmer also had the lead role in the television film Jump In! along with American actor Corbin Bleu. 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, though Atlantic Records. The album failed to chart on the US Billboard 200, but did chart at number 85 on the R&B chart. The album was preceded by the lead single "Keep It Movin'".

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.[1] In July 2009, designer Jane Siskin created a Walmart fashion line inspired by True Jackson, VP, with all the designs being approved by Palmer. The fashion line consists of jumpers, modern dresses, knit tops, T-shirts, leggings, and more.[8] As well as starring in True Jackson, VP, Palmer starred as the lead role in the 2008 film The Longshots, along with Ice Cube, becoming their second film together after Barbershop 2: Back in Business. In 2009, Palmer had a role in the film Shrink in which she played a patient named Jemma, who is a troubled high school student, and is required to see a therapist by her school after cutting her hand by punching a mirror.

In 2010, Palmer was signed by the Chairman of Interscope Records, Jimmy Iovine, and began working on an album.[9] Between her MySpace and SayNow accounts, she has released several snippets of songs that were recorded for possible inclusion on her sophomore album. In a 2011 interview, Palmer stated the album is complete and is in the process of finalization. The self-titled album will be a mixture of R&B/hip-hop with pop undertones. Producers and writers for the album include Lil Eddie and Lucas Secon. Palmer stated that the album itself would be released in early 2012.

2011–13: Focus on music and 90210[edit]

Palmer with Todd Graff in September, 2013.

In January 2011, Palmer released her first mixtape Awaken. The mixtape was officially released on January 10, 2011, for downloads on mixtape-downloading websites.[10] The first and only single released from the mixtape was "The One You Call".[11] A music video was also released for the song. It premiered on Palmer's official YouTube channel and iTunes. Also in 2011, Palmer released a statement on her official website saying that she will be going on a US tour to promote her new music. She asked fans to vote for the states they wanted her to visit first. On September, the winning states were announced. They were Texas, Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, Mississippi, Washington, New York, and North Carolina, which is expected to start in 2012. That same year, she finished her show True Jackson, VP. In 2012, Palmer starred alongside Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah in the film Joyful Noise, released in January 2012. She produced and starred in Rags, a Nickelodeon musical film, as well as voice characters in Ice Age: Continental Drift and Winx Club.[12] Palmer has also recently been cast in the upcoming comedy Virgin Mary, opposite Abigail Breslin and Carter Jenkins.[13] In 2012, Palmer spoke on the direction of the album saying "It's definitely a progression. What you would think I'd sound like at my age is what it is. It's a record I can say is truly my own. I was there from the beginning to the end. I was in full control of it, and it represents who I am."[14] In July 2012, Palmer released the single "You Got Me" featuring Kevin McCall. The video for the single was released on July 11, 2012.[15] Palmer has also announced a new single named "Dance Alone".

Palmer released a self-titled mixtape Keke Palmer on October 1, 2012. It includes her new singles "You Got Me" & "Dance Alone" which have already been released.[16] Since the release, her mixtape has over 35,000 downloads.[17] On June 3, 2013, Keke Palmer released a lyric video for her bonus track from her mixtape "Takes Me Away".[18] In 2013 Palmer portrayed Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas in the TLC VH1-biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.[19] The film was completed in April 2013 and aired in October on the VH1 network, as well as being released in select theaters soon after.[20] On May 16, 2013, Keke Palmer released a video showing her recording and performing a cover of Alicia Keys song "If I Ain't Got You".[21] Her album is due to release sometime this year. Palmer also recently took part in a cover of "The Other Side" with Max Schneider. The video was released on YouTube in late June 2013 and is on iTunes without Derulo's part.[22][23]

Also, in 2013, she portrayed Elizabeth Royce Harwood in four episodes of 90210.[24]

2014–present: Just Keke, Films and Upcoming Sophomore Album[edit]

Palmer starring in the horror film Animal, which was filmed in Manchester, Connecticut. Produced by Drew Barrymore, the film co-stars Elizabeth Gilles, Jeremy Sumpter, and Eve and is scheduled for a limited release on 17 June 2014 in theatres and VOD.[25] In addition to be in the film, Palmer also performed and wrote a song entitled "Animal", which is the main theme of the movie of the same name. Palmer was cast in a recurring role in the second season of Showtime's Masters of Sex. She will play Coral, a nanny hired by the Masters to care for their new baby.[26] Palmer is currently working with record producer and recording artist Bangladesh on her second studio album.[27]

It was announced on 21 April 2014, that Palmer will be hosting her own daytime talk show on BET called Just Keke (formerly The Keke Palmer Project). The show will cover a variety of topics including fashion, pop culture, relationships, social issues, celebrity interviews, and much more. The show premieres on June 30, 2014 and it will run on Monday-Friday at 5pm ET/PT.[28]

In August 2014, it was announced that Palmer would be the first African-American to star as Cinderella on Broadway in September 2014.[29] She performed her first show on September 9, 2014. Her last show was on a closing night of the show's run on January 4, 2015.[30] In January 2015, she was casted for one of the leading roles in the Fox horror series Scream Queens.[31]


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" by[32] Palmer was heavily influenced by American R&B singers Beyoncé, Ciara, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Brandy, Whitney Houston, R. Kelly, and girl group TLC.[33]


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.[34] Palmer worked with the charity the YWCA & Saving Our Daughters because of the charity's belief of the empowerment of women across. Palmer spoke on the charity saying “We are so excited about having such an extraordinary singer & actress as Keke Palmer, to address these issues of bullying & abuse worldwide with the YWCA USA and with both our missions” stated CEO of Saving Our Daughters, Curtis Benjamin. The YWCA has long advocated for empowerment, eliminating racism, eliminating violence and promoting dignity for women and girls,” says Gloria Lau, CEO of YWCA USA. “As advocates of promoting peace, it’s paramount that the YWCA USA takes this tremendous opportunity with Saving Our Daughters and Miss Keke Palmer to tackle the issue of bullying in our nation. Awareness of this type of violence needs to be heightened nationally,” Lau continued, “and we are committed to exposing its negative impact on our society and more specifically women, girls, and our daughters.”[35] In 2009, she attended the Stars and Strikes benefit for A Place Called Home.[34] As of late 2010, Palmer, along with many other widely known celebrities, has been an avid representative for the "Saving Our Daughters" oath project, an anti-bullying campaign that allows people all over the world to take an oath to stop bullying.[36]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Barbershop 2: Back in Business Gina's niece
2004 Wool Cap, TheThe Wool Cap Lou Television film
2005 Knights of the South Bronx Kenya Russell Television film
2006 Akeelah and the Bee Akeelah Anderson
2006 Madea's Family Reunion Nikki Grady
2007 Cleaner Rose Cutler
2007 Jump In! Mary Thomas Television film
2008 Longshots, TheThe Longshots Jasmine Plummer
2008 Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare Crystal Tortoise Voice
2009 Shrink Jemma
2012 Joyful Noise Olivia Hill
2012 Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom Aisha Voice
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Peaches Voice
2012 Rags Kadee Worth Television film; also producer
2012 Abducted: The Carlina White Story Carlina White Television film
2013 Curdled Tara Short film
2013 CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas Television film
2014 Imperial Dreams Samaara
2014 Trip to Bountiful, TheThe Trip to Bountiful Thelma Television film
2014 Animal Alissa
2015 Brotherly Love Jackie Lead Role
Year Title Role Notes
2004 Cold Case Arlene Marion "The Letter" (Season 1, Episode 13)
2004 Strong Medicine Sarina "Healing Touch" (Season 5, Episode 7)
2005 Second Time Around Sharlene "Big Bank, Little Bank" (Season 1, Episode 11)
2005 ER Janell Parkerson "The Show Must Go On" (Season 11, Episode 22)
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tasha Wright "Storm" (Season 7, Episode 10)
2005 Keke & Jamal Keke Stewart Disney Channel pilot unaired
2007 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Nikki "Bully and the Beast" (Season 2, Episode 1)
2007 Just Jordan C.C. Livingston "Fame Game" (Season 2, Episode 4)
2008–11 True Jackson, VP True Jackson Lead role
2010 The Cleveland Show Candice Voice; "Harder, Better, Faster, Browner" (Season 2, Episode 1)
2011 Degrassi: The Next Generation Herself "Boom Boom Pow: Part 1" (Season 11, Episode 1)
"Boom Boom Pow: Part 2" (Season 11, Episode 2)
2011–present Winx Club Aisha Voice; Main role
2013 90210 Elizabeth Royce Harwood Recurring role (Season 5)
2013 Key & Peele Malia Obama's anger translator "Obama Shutdown" (Season 3, Episode 5)
2013 Full Circle Chan'dra Stevens "Jace & Chan'dra" (Season 1, Episode 4)
"Chan'dra & Cliff" (Season 1, Episode 5)
2014 Single Ladies Herself "The Girl Most Likely To..." (Season 3, Episode 3)
2014 Grey's Anatomy Cheryl "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" (Season 10, Episode 16)
2014 Family Guy Pam Voice; "Baby Got Black" (Season 12, Episode 18)
2014 Masters of Sex Coral "Kyrie Eleison" (Season 2, Episode 2)
2014 Just Keke Herself / Host
2014 Masters of Sex Coral Recurring role (Season 2)
2015 Scream Queens[37] Zayday Lead Role


Year Title Role Notes
2014-2015 Cinderella Ella Broadway musical



Awards and nominations[edit]

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 "NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special" True Jackson, VP Won
2010 NAACP Image Awards "NAACP Image Award for 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 "NAACP Image Award for 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
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"


  1. ^ a b "TV's Highest-Paid Kid Actors (Surprise! Miley Cyrus Isn't No. 1)". 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "Keke Palmer Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". 1993-08-26. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  3. ^ Ebony Haynes, Gumbo Magazine July 2006, page 31 (scan in
  4. ^ a b Breznican, Anthony (April 28, 2006). "'Bee' star is a real keeper". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  5. ^ Schaeffer, Stephen (April 28, 2006). "MOVIES; Rising star a winner in `Bee'". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2010-12-29. Her father works for a polyurethane company and her mother teaches autistic children. 
  6. ^ "Keke Palmer Movies". Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ed Harris and Keke Palmer Get The Cleaner". December 13, 2006. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Keke Palmer Launches True Jackson Clothing Line for Walmart – Style News - StyleWatch -". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  9. ^ "Twitter / KekePalmer: @gabsmc I've been do some". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  10. ^ "Keke Palmer – Awaken | FREE Mixtapes Online". iTapez. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  11. ^ "iTunes - Music - The One You Call - Single by Keke Palmer". 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  12. ^ "News | Keke Palmer Plots Strong 2011 With TV, Film, Music and Animations". Singersroom. 2011-01-11. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  13. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2011-09-06). "Breslin to 'Virgin Mary' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  14. ^ "Keke Palmer Talks "We Are" and "Ice Age: Continental Drift" - ARTISTdirect News". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  15. ^ "Video: Keke Palmer f/ Kevin McCall – ‘You Got Me’". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  16. ^ "Exclusive Preview: Keke Palmer Reveals Self-Titled Mixtape Snippets". 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  17. ^ "Keke Palmer". 
  18. ^ "Keke Palmer - Takes Me Away (Lyric Video)". 
  19. ^ "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story Cast Member - Keke Palmer". 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-10-18. 
  20. ^ "'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story' Trailer Teases VH1 Biopic's Take On 'Waterfalls' And 'No Scrubs'". 2013-07-25. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Keke Palmer Covers Alicia Keys "If I Ain't Got You"". 
  22. ^ "The Other Side by Keke Palmer & Max Schneider featuring Jason Derulo". 
  23. ^ "The Other Side - Single Keke Palmer & Max Schneider". Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Ng, Philiana (July 25, 2013). "Drew Barrymore's 'Animal' Sets Ensemble Cast (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  26. ^ Ng, Philiana (March 12, 2014). "Keke Palmer Joins 'Masters of Sex'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Keke Palmer Signs Joint Venture with Music Producer Bangladesh". 
  28. ^ "Premiere Date Revealed For Keke Palmer's New BET Talk Show". June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Eskridge, Sonya (January 4, 2015). "Keke Palmer & NeNe Leakes Wrap Up Their Run On Broadway In ‘Cinderella’". HelloBeautiful. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  31. ^ TCA Winter 2015: 'Cast Fills Out for Fox’s Scream Queens with Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin, and More!
  32. ^ "Keke Palmer - So Uncool CD Album". 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  33. ^ [1][dead link]
  34. ^ a b "Keke Palmer's Charity Work, Events and Causes". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  35. ^ "Keke Palmer Combats Bullying With New Campaign". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  36. ^ "MIXTAPE AVAILABLE NOW | Official Keke Palmer Website". Keke Palmer. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  37. ^ Lea Michele and Ariana Grande Join Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens

External links[edit]