The Keke Palmer Moment Is Here to Revive Us All

This is a preview of the pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To get the full newsletter in your inbox every week, Sign up for it here.

Keke Palmer’s first scene in No it’s spectacular. It’s a “Oh, that’s a star…” commanding moment reserved for the likes of Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, more recently Andrew Garfield or Florence Pugh, and the entire cast of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

As Emerald Haywood, she appeared on screen, arriving late for a safety presentation on set that she had to represent on behalf of the Hollywood horse-training business she ran with him. OJ boy (Daniel Kaluuya) after their father died in a horrible accident on their farm.

In addition to providing safe protocols, she began to sell herself and all those around her to the hustle and bustle. Need her to act? Doing stunts? Fix a piece of grilled cheese on a crafty way? She comes across as part pro, part influencer, part just-do-your-best girl. But she is mesmerized. It’s a one-off monologue with energy bouncing off the screen.

She’s fun and mischievous, and shows off clearly. But you know this person. This is someone who has a passion for life, even if life does not reciprocate with the same enthusiasm or generosity. She also speaks with a passion, speaking of her abilities and her willingness to work with a ferocity like, I could describe the qualities of the brunch appetizer at Applebee’s in happy hour. (If you have about 45 minutes to three hours to spare, I’ll gladly demonstrate.)

You believe her. I will buy TikTok “Pink Sauce” from her immediately and was so afraid to disappoint her that I forced myself to believe it was delicious. “So delicious…” I mumbled on the hospital bed as my stomach was pumping. “Thanks, Keke.”

That scene is more than just a great character introduction and a perfect, hilarious start to a great movie. It is also a bit difficult. You are completely won by Emerald. You believe she can do any of those things. Such is the power – and unparalleled gift – of Keke Palmer.

For years, “Keke Palmer is having a moment” has built up like a tidal wave. A star from a young age who won an award for her breakthrough performance in Akeelah and bees and adore the Gen Z group who grew up with her when she starred in the Nickelodeon series Yes Jackson, VP, she’s building a solid resume on big, often surprising projects.

She regularly makes history in doing so, which, when captured with some of her most dramatic off-screen moments, speaks to her desire to have a legacy and to open new ones. door — which she does with elegance and explosiveness, like the classiest grenade out there.

She’s done undeniably interesting things, like playing Chilli in the TLC biopic that airs on VH1 or playing Marty in Grease Live! (Gay millennials have two pop-culture shaping moments that confirm their identity: the first time they see Ryan Phillippe’s butt in Evil intentionsand when they rave about how great Keke Palmer’s “Freddy My Love” was Grease Live!)

She regularly makes history…this, when captured with some of her most dramatic moments off-screen, speaks to her desire to have a legacy and open doors — which she It does it with elegance and explosiveness, like the classiest grenade out there.

Her acting credits are “cool”, which is a silly description, but an accurate connection between series like Scream Queens, Master of sex, Big mouthand Not safeas well as the movie Hustlers.

When she started her talk show Only Keke In 2014, she became the youngest talk show host in history. She later became the first black woman to play Cinderella in a Broadway musical. That same year, she signed a record deal. In a “sure, why not, do everything” move, she later co-hosted Good Morning AmericaThe third hour was short with Michael Strahan and Sara Haines. Currently, she hosts the revival of the game show Password and judge for the recent season of Legendary. When co-hosting the MTV Video Music Awards the first summer of the pandemic (were we ever so young?), she very briefly showed the public the actual endorphins.

In other words, she’s a multi-hyphen—but, like, a legitimately good person in every hat she wears. A multi-hyphen myself — someone who can engage on a professional level, skilled in entertainment journalism, podcasting, and ordering too many minutes after complaining about her weight — I recognize the challenge of being excellent in multiple arenas.

No was Palmer’s biggest acting showcase in several years that went viral regularly for himself being unflinching in interviews, arguably irresistibly charming, and possibly attractive celebrity. best on the planet.

“Sorry to this man” – the clip crowned Palmer as the Meme Queen, where, while a lie detector test for Vanity Fair, she did not recognize Dick Cheney – is high art. Videos are everywhere, the inevitable memes and phrases – “sorry this man” – are used by me at least twice in every conversation for six months, I laugh until I wheeze every time therefore smart.

But what Palmer proved during that time was that it wasn’t all a fluke. She’s almost non-stop magnetic and has one of the most naturally sensuous comedic abilities in Hollywood. She appeared on a talk show frequently spread; this one she said about Rose at the end Titanic for a completely forgotten Steve Harvey is a personal favorite. One New Vanity Fair clip are from No press tour in which she revealed that she had not heard of X file‘Mulder and Scully— “Who are they now?” — is being billed as a “sorry this man” sequel in the headlines, as if such a perfect, sideline moment from Palmer could be so planned.

But then there’s the clip of her at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020 exhorting a National Guard unit kneel instead of marchingand her Next choice on the topic. And there is a clip about she interviews Vice President Kamala Harris at the Festival of Essence and earnestly asked how her generation could productively mobilize and make a difference without feeling drained and hopeless by a system that frequently failed them. She rested her head on her shoulder. She understands. She is remarkable.

The envelopment of popular culture often deals with skepticism, an exhausting burnout with predictable micro-organization and management of the careers and extroverted personalities of big celebrities. . And the minute a person becomes famous, backlash inevitably ensues. So it’s thrilling that Palmer is on the cusp of a moment like this, let’s be so good at it. Noand has everyone sincerely, fervently attached to her.

There’s always talk from silly people who care about these things (me) about whether A-list movie stars and celebrities still exist as they once were. Keke Palmer proves they can.

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