Keke Palmer has never shied away from an acting challenge. From playing a girl genius (Akeelah and the Bee) to portraying TLC’s Chilli in a biopic, the multi-talented superstar takes pride in becoming an acclaimed actress.
During her promo stop at Atlanta’s Southside DASH Radio, Palmer sat down with host Kierra M. to discuss her most challenging role as a panderer in lesbian love drama, Pimp. Along with her latest acting gig, she discussed new music, her stance on mental health in the entertainment industry and more.
Here are four things we learned from this interview.
1. She calls Pimp her passion project.
“It wasn’t easy to get made and it definitely wasn’t an easy topic that I think people would immediately understand,” she said “Maybe visually, seeing it now, people can get it but when we would first say, ‘It’s a movie about a pimp — a female pimp. It’s also a lesbian love story, people are kind of like, ‘What?’ So for me, when I read the script, I love art and I love bringing characters to light. Especially characters we don’t get to see really brought to life in humanizing ways. So when I read it, I immediately knew this will be challenging for me but it’s something that I’m down for the challenge to do. I love the character, I like a lot of the messages and the themes. I feel like a lot of people can relate to them, even if their mom and dad aren’t pimps and prostitutes. Everybody’s family has generational curses and things that you’re trying to overcome and make better for the next generation.”
2. She’s releasing new music early next year.
“The album is completed and finished,” she revealed. “I’m giving some new visuals at the top of the year, dropping the album at the top of the year in January you can expect it. I know people be like, ‘Oh my gosh Keke, you take so long,’ but the reality is I am doing so many different things, so I have to make sure and time them out in a way that I can actually tend to them because I was also away for five months in Budapest doing a TV show. How is that when you’re doing a project and you have to be away from your music? It’s very frustrating because I want to be able to feed my audience and I also want to be able to perform.”
3. Mental health is an important topic for her.
“I went through so much as a kid with just the kind of career that I had — being a child entertainer and being around so many adults, always traveling and being away from my family,” she said. “Then on top of that, just normal things as a Black American person. I think a lot of our people experience a lot of post-traumatic stress from generational stuff that has yet to been removed that we still carry. Mental health and being good with myself, I think those were things I was able to normalize because my parents broke our generational curse.”
4. She will be returning to the small screen.
“I have Star that’s coming up,” she said. “You’re going to find a lot more out about Gigi. Gigi has a lot going on this season. You’ll learn a lot more about her family, where she comes from and just kind of how she got to become who she is. I also have Berlin Station, which is a totally different vibe. It’s a neo-spy political kind of show, very different than most of the stuff you guys see me do.”
Pimp, executive directed by Lee Daniels, is now available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Video, as well as On Demand on Comcast and Time Warner.
Watch Keke Palmer’s interview below.
Words by Danielle Brissett