Keke Palmer Shuts Down Zendaya Comparisons After ‘Nope’
The 28-year-old Akeelah and the Bee actress weighed in after a Twitter user shared their thoughts on Palmer’s performance in Jordan Peele‘s Nope, which hit theaters on Friday, July 22. The fan argued that the different levels of “mainstream popularity” achieved by Palmer and Zendaya, 25, is “one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood” — but the Nickelodeon alum sees it a little differently.
“A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone,” Palmer tweeted on Sunday, July 24. “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.”
She continued, “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.”
The Illinois native made her big screen debut in 2004 with Barbershop 2: Back in Business, later moving to television. She starred as the titular character on Nick’s True Jackson, VP, which ran from 2008 to 2011. Palmer hosted her own talk show, Just Keke, and earned a Daytime Emmy Award as one of the cohosts of Strahan, Sara and Keke. Before Nope, she appeared alongside Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles and more in 2019’s Hustlers.
Zendaya, for her part, joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017 as MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming after getting her start on Disney’s Shake It Up. She returned to the small screen in 2019 on HBO’s Euphoria, portraying a teen struggling with drug addiction. The role earned her a historic win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 2020 Emmys, making her the youngest actress to ever earn the trophy.
Nope threw Palmer back into the spotlight, which still took some adjusting despite her decades in the business. “I’ve been doing this for so long, [but] this is still a very new experience in terms of the scale of this film and the attention that it’s getting,” the Scream Queens alum told Vanity Fair this month, adding that she’s “having a little bit of a hard time processing” the excitement for Peele’s latest thriller. “But I’m going along with it.”
The Jump In! star spoke candidly about the obstacles former child stars face as they grow up. “Oh, my gosh, there’s a huge judgment that they’re not genuine actors. … People don’t think, as a child actor, that you’re really putting a lot of thought into it, but you really, really are,” she told the outlet. “Most of us kids at that time, we know that we’re doing a wink and a nod. Those are still some of my most exciting years in terms of the stories I was able to tell to my generation. I still have people come up to me because of True Jackson.”