While most of young Hollyweird is plastered all over tabloids drunken out of their minds or dressed sexily beyond their years, Keke Palmer walks the road less traveled. The 16-year-old wunderkind who recently graduated from high school doesn’t have a problem staying focused while balancing a productive career.
“People who want to be in the tabloids will get into the tabloids [and] I choose not be in them,” Palmer tells VIBE. “A lot of times when people run into those situations it’s because they feel they can’t do anything else for attention so they do the wrong thing. I just keep doing what I’m supposed to. It’s not that hard to just stay away if don’t let yourself get manipulated by the people around you.”
Palmer credits her family and her friends who mostly aren’t in show business with keeping her humble. On her down time she’s taking FaceBook quizzes and hanging out at home but when she’s on, she’s all the way live. Palmer experienced her first taste of break out success as the lead role in 2006’s Akeelah and the Bee, alongside Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. Since then, she has recorded a critically acclaimed album and is currently starring in her own TV show, Nickelodeon’s True Jackson VP, which will air as a special made for TV movie on Saturday (May 22).
“True Trapped in Paris is very action packed and has a lot of cool stuff going on. One of my favorite things is they filmed it with a movie camera so it’s going to look different from the [TV] show, with a cooler effect,” Palmer says. “There’s also a lot of little funny skits including one where I rap. We had a lot of fun doing it.”
"That role [as Roxanne Shante] would've given me a lot of street credibility"
Palmer doesn’t actually rap in real life but she almost played Roxanne Shante in a biopic about the Juice Crew. However, lack of funding put that project on hold. “I was disappointed about that role because it would have given me a lot of street credibility. A lot of my fans and a lot of my peers don’t really know that I listen to that kind of stuff,” Palmer muses, citing Drake, Ludacris and Aaliyah as some of her favorite artists. “I’m very well-rounded in all areas. I listen to pop, rock, R&B and hip-hop. I really wanted my hip-hop fans to know that I totally get that type of stuff but it just didn’t happen.”
In addition to acting Palmer, who is rapidly blossoming from child star to triple threat young woman, is also working on her sophomore album. It’s tentatively untitled but the Interscope Records signee⎯who has songwriting credits on most of the project⎯has confirmed Darkchild, Poke (of the Trackmasters) and Lil' Eddie as producers.
“The more different roles I have [career-wise] then it will be a lot easier for people to see that I’m maturing,” Palmer says. “True Jackson VP is one side but when my music comes out, they’ll get to see more of who I am as Keke Palmer.” ⎯Starrene Rhett
True Trapped in Paris airs Saturday (May 22) on Nickelodeon at 8 p.m. EST.