Keke Palmer Claps Back at Zendaya Comparisons, Colorism Debate: 'I'm an Incomparable Talent'

The 28-year-old actress is currently receiving critical and commercial acclaim for her role in Jordan Peele's 'Nope.'

Keke Palmer is not interested in being compared to anyone else. 

The 28-year-old actress clapped back at an online debate that caught fire over the weekend, with one Twitter user opening a dialogue about whether, despite a seemingly similar career trajectory beginning as child stars, Zendaya's perceived mainstream popularity is "one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood."

The controversy comes as Palmer is enjoying a bright spot in her own career, soaking in critical and commercial acclaim for her starring role in Jordan Peele's Nope. But Palmer was quick to shut down the conversation with nothing but love for the career she has built. 

"A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone," she clapped back on Twitter. "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."

"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," she continued. "I’ve had a blessed career thus far, I couldn’t ask for more but God continues to surprise me."


Earlier this year, Palmer lent her voice to the Disney Pixar animated hit, Lightyear. Her big-screen credits also include Akeelah and the Bee and Hustlers. She starred as the title character of Nickelodeon's True Jackson, VP, from 2008 to 2011 and entered the Ryan Murphy-verse for Scream Queens in 2015, among many other television roles and a history-making talk show stint on Good Morning America, co-hosting the third hour titled, Strahan, Sara & Keke, in 2019.

"What I love about Jordan Peele is that he normalizes Black people in leading roles. And being in the leading role is no commentary on being Black," Palmer told Glamour earlier this year while promoting Nope

In Nope, Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya play Emerald and OJ Haywood, a brother-sister duo of Hollywood horse trainers, who encounter alien activity on their isolated ranch.

"It is about normalizing and putting Black [people] and people of color at the forefront," she explains. "Telling their narratives and stories effortlessly that includes their culture, but doesn't tie their identity to being Black in a way that's victimized or subservient. It's important for creators like Jordan Peele, actors, and all of us, to continue to push that envelope as it pertains to Black representation being very robust because we are robust people."

In an interview with ET, Palmer raved about being able to dive into the complexity of her character in the film. 

"It was just awesome, and also I love my character," she adds. "Emerald has so many different aspects to her. She starts off in this jester personality, and slowly plays in the orphan archetype. The way that she is written is just so skillfully, and I was just excited to play and do her justice." 

See more of ET's Nope coverage below. 



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