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Lauren Keyana "Keke" Palmer (b. August 26, 1993-) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, dancer, fashion designer, voice actress, and activist[citation needed]. Palmer was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois. After Palmer's film debut, Palmer and her family moved to California to help herself pursue a career in television.


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'".

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. In 2006, Palmer starred in Akeelah and the Bee and Madea's Family Reunion. The following year Palmer featured in the film Cleaner. Palmer has also starred in films The Longshots (2008) and Shrink (2009). In 2012, Palmer starred in four films Joyful NoiseWinx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom,Ice Age: Continental Drift and Virgin Mary. Besides films, Palmer has also starred in television films Knights of the South Bronx (2005) and Jump In!(2007) amongst others. Palmer has also had numerous television roles including 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]

Life and career[]

1993-2004: Early life and career beginnings[]

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 career jumped when she met her baby daddy Ken Davis At Sam Houston State University. 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]

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]

"I knew opportunities would pop up if I just kept on trying," said Palmer. "I talked it over with my sister, and I didn't have anything to bribe her. I asked her, 'Please?' I knew she was excited about going to high school and I didn't want to take that away from her — but I really wanted my dream to come true. She said, 'You're really talented, and I think this could be good for you."[2]===2005-07: So Uncool and major acting roles===

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 AroundER and Keke & Jamal.

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 never makes errors on her spelling tests and doesn't really seem to fit in. Palmer also had a supporting role in the 2006 film Madea's Family Reunion.

In 2007, Palmer starred in many acting roles, she was a supporting act in the thriller Cleaner alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes. Palmer also had the lead role in the television filmJump 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'".

2008-11: True Jackson, VP, mixtape and film projects[]

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 $25,000 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.[6] 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 filmShrink 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.[7] 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 OakLil EddieLucas Secon and others. Palmer stated that the album itself will be released in early 2012. In January 2011, Palmer released her first mixtape Awaken. The mixtape was officially released on January 10, 2011, for downloads on mixtape-downloading websites.[8]The first and only single released from the mixtape "The One You Call" was released on iTunes in December 7, 2010, and was sent to Urban radio the same day.[9] A music video was also released for the song. It premiered on Palmer's official Youtube channel and iTunes. 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 D.C., 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.[10] Palmer has also recently been cast in the upcoming comedy Virgin Mary, opposite Abigail Breslin and Carter Jenkins.[11]

2012-present: Second studio album[]

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."[12] In July 2012, Palmer released the single "You Got Me" featuring Kevin McCall. The video for the single was released on July 11, 2012.[13] Palmer has also announced a new single named "Dance Alone".

Palmer released a self-titled mixtape on October 1, 2012. It includes her new singles "You Got Me" & "Dance Alone" which have already been released.[14]


Musical style[]

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[15]


Palmer was heavily influenced by American R&B singers BrandyAaliyahJanet JacksonCiaraMariah CareyBeyoncéWhitney Houston and girl group TLC.[16]


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.[17] 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.”[18]

In 2009, she attended the Stars and Strikes benefit for A Place Called Home.[17] 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.[19]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Barbershop 2: Back in Business Gina's Niece Credited as Lauren Keyana Palmer
2004 The Wool Cap Lou TV movie;Main role
2005 Knights of the South Bronx Kenya Russell TV movie
2006 Akeelah and the Bee Akeelah Anderson Lead role
2006 Madea's Family Reunion Nikki Grady Supporting role
2007 Cleaner Rose Cutler Supporting role
2007 Jump In! Mary Thomas TV movie; Main role
2008 The Longshots Jasmine Plummer Main role
2008 Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare Crystal Tortoise Voice
2009 Shrink Jemma Supporting role
2012 Joyful Noise[20] Olivia Hill Main role
2012 Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom Aisha Voice; Main role
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Peaches Voice; Supporting role
2012 Rags Kadee Worth TV movie; Lead role, Producer
2012 Abducted: The Carlina White Story Carlina White TV movie; Lead role
2012 Wreck-It Ralph Alex Voice Main role
2013 Virgin Mary[11] Mary Main role
2013 Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas TV movie; Main role
Year Title Role Notes
2004 Cold Case Arlene Marion "The Letter" (Episode 13, Season 1)
2004 Strong Medicine Sarina "Race for a Cure" (Episode 7, Season 5)
2005 Second Time Around Sharlene "Big Bank, Little Bank" (Episode 11, Season 1)
2005 ER Janell Parkerson "The Show Must Go On" (Episode 22, Season 11)
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tasha Wright "Storm" (Episode 10, Season 7)
2005 Keke & Jamal Keke Stewart Unsold TV Pilot (Disney Channel)
2007 Tyler Perry's House of Payne Nikki "Bully and the Beast" (Episode 1, Season 2)
2007 Just Jordan C.C. Livingston "Fame Game" (Episode 17, Season 2)
2008–2011 True Jackson, VP True Jackson One of the Lead roles
2009 MTV Cribs Herself
2009 Brainsurge Presenter 1 episode
2010 The Cleveland Show Candice "Harder, Better, Faster, Browner" (Episode 22, Season 2)
2011 Degrassi Herself (Season 11 - Episodes 1 & 2; "Spring Fever") Mentioned as Keyana Palmer.
2011–present Winx Club Layla/Aisha Voice; Regular role


Main article: Keke Palmer discography



Awards and nominations[]

Year Award Category Motive 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" Nominated
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 Won
Black Movie Awards "Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role" Won
2007 Young Artist Award "Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress" Won
NAACP Image Awards "Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture" Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards "Best Young Actress" Nominated
Black Reel Awards "Best Actress" Won
"Best Breakthrough Performance" Nominated
Young Artist Awards "Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress" Cleaner Nominated
Black Reel Awards "Best Actress" The Longshots Nominated
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" Won
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