/  07.25.2022

Over the weekend, there was a huge debate on Twitter about colorism in Hollywood. At the forefront of the discussion were actresses Keke Palmer, 28, and Zendaya, 25. Many users voiced their opinions about Zendaya, a light-skinned, biracial actress having more “mainstream” success than Palmer, who is a darker complexion. Yesterday (July 24), Palmer hopped on Twitter to clear a few things up.

While Palmer and Zendaya may have many things in common — both actresses began as child stars on sitcoms, both are singers and dancers, and both are Black — Palmer wants you to know she can’t be compared to anyone else. “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. [And] the youngest [and] first Black Cinderella on Broadway. I’m an incomparable talent. Baby, THIS, is Keke Palmer,” the multitalented entertainer wrote. 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.”

Palmer’s message was a direct response to users causing the topic to go viral. “I’d like someone to do a [deep dive] 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,” a tweet with over 84,000 likes says. Another read, “Keke’s net worth is $7 million and Zendaya’s is $20 million. Keke has been a mainstream success since her career began and has put in substantially more work. She should be one of the HIGHEST paid entertainers in the game. So yes, it’s colorism.”

Some fans were upset that users chose the opening weekend of Palmer’s new movie Nope to bring up such a conversation. “I’ve been seeing this Keke/Zendaya colorism conversation circulating lately. Some are calling it untrue. Others disagree. Colorism is real, and yes, it has most likely played into the trajectory of their careers and opportunities. But can we just celebrate Keke right now?” a fan said. Another highlighted that Palmer is hard-working and consistent in her craft. “KeKe is right though, people minimize her achievements when she’s been having an amazing career as an all-around entertainer since being a child. It’s okay to want her to continue to get her flowers but we don’t have to forget the garden that already exists.”

Palmer’s new movie Nope hit theaters Friday (July 22). The thriller is directed by Jordan Peele and stars the actress alongside Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah).


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