Lauren Keyana “Keke” Palmer is an American actress and singer-songwriter probably best known for her roles on the Nickelodeon sitcom “True Jackson VP,” as well as a variety of film roles including “Akeelah and the Bee.”
The name “Keke” is a nickname given to her by her sister.
Keke Palmer was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois. She began singing at her church, as well as at a Chicago stage show, but she rose to prominence with her first film role “Barbershop 2: Back to Business,” playing the niece of Queen Latifah. After that, she and her family moved to California so Keke could pursue acting and singing in earnest.
Her performance in “The Wool Cap” earned her a Screen Actors Guild Nomination as a Lead Actress.
For her role in “Akeelah and the Bee,” she had to audition five times. Her tenacity paid off, as the role earned her a 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.
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Her other roles include parts in “Cleaner,” “Jump In!” and “Joyful Noise,” among other projects. She also lent her voice in the film “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”
In 2003, Keke Palmer was part of “American Juniors,” but her scenes were edited out and the show was cancelled. Her first single was “All my Girz” which was on the “Akeelah and the Bee” soundtrack.
Keke Palmer released her debut album “So Uncool” in 2007. She followed it up with a self-titled mix tape in 2012. She told ebony.com that her musical style was a “mash-up of everyone. My influences would be Michael Jackson, Brandy, Aaliyah – those types of people.”
When asked about college, Keke said she would love to go, but “to think about college right now would just make my head blow up because of how nerve wracking that would be.”
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Recently, she defended herself against the backlash she received for her casting as Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas in the upcoming biopic about the group TLC. “It’s not about looking like this person or like that person. I mean I could understand if I was doing Bette Midler, I mean I don’t look anything like her, but at least I’m in the same race as Chilli!”
Keke Palmer lives in Los Angeles.