If you’ve seen images of Keke Palmer on the red carpet in recent years, it’s clear the performer who charmed audiences as a child in Akeelah and the Bee and Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP has grown into a sultry star who knows who she is.
“People don’t understand. Nickelodeon, Disney Channel — those are corporations. That is a machine and it’s a well-oiled machine. … Not only when you work with them are you working on their show, but you’re working with their brand so you become that identity in which they want you to be,” the actress said in a recent interview. “There’s rules and regulations and so they pigeonhole you when the reality is, ain’t nobody that PG!”
Palmer says after she made peace with the fact that she was growing up, she felt free to express herself. “Once I finally let go of the fear of moving past Keke Palmer True Jackson, VP, I was able to become Keke Palmer the woman. And so when I get on those carpets, that’s who you get to see.”
It’s that kind of real talk that Palmer shares in her new book, I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice. She says one goal was to let readers know that just because she’s in the public eye doesn’t mean she’s perfect.
AP: Why did you decide to be so honest in the book?
I was like, “I don’t want to hold back,” and not even so much because of my story but more so because I wanted people to know the truth so they could apply it to their lives. I didn’t want to gloss anything over. I wanted them to know the truth about me, you know, so they could put themselves in my shoes and realize that just because they know me or recognized me or that I’m a celebrity to them, doesn’t mean that we’re not the same.
AP: Who has inspired you?
Rihanna. She’s a pop icon saying how she feels. We would always see and hear people not really saying how they felt, saying what I feel like they wanted us to hear them say and I really loved her courage, her courage to say how she felt. And I remember writing that to her in her DM’s (direct message), I was like, “Rihanna, you know, you inspire me so much with your ability to just have courage in who you are and speak your truth like, I want to be like that, you know what I mean? I want to be able to say how I feel and I love that you do that,” you know? And she wrote me back and I actually say that in the book. She’s like, “Keke, you are a light. Continue to embrace God’s anointing and you will be all that you want to be.”
AP: Season two of your show “Scream Queens” recently wrapped airing. What’s next?
I’m also getting more into production, producing and hopefully directing. I wrote my first script two years ago. I’m working to get that done. I’m hoping to also be a conduit for others. Queen Latifah has done so much for me. I want to be in the position of someone like her giving opportunities to other people.