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    Keke Palmer Shuts Down Zendaya Comparisons


    Keke Palmer

    Keke Palmer, a notable actress, singer, Emmy winner, and former Disney Channel star, recently shut down comparisons between her and Zendaya. Moreover, Palmer notes that these comparisons are a fault of colorism in her industry. Palmer is her own individual person with accomplishments unique to herself, these comparisons ignited a discussion on colorism. 

    Keke Palmer Upbringing

    Keke Palmer tweet

    Palmer rose to fame on Disney Channel as the youngest Black actress to receive a starring role in the show True Jackson, VP. In a tweet addressing the issue, Palmer stated: “A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone. 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”.

    Disney Channel


     Keke and Zendaya both played roles in Disney Channel shows as young children but since then, their careers have taken completely different paths. 

    Individual Success

    Moreover, Palmer’s recent role in NOPE has earned her new attention. In addition to this, many people were quick to point out that Palmer has been a successful actress all her life and that this role did not establish her success as an actress. On Twitter, Aiyana N. Ishmael stated: “It’s so interesting seeing the conversation around Keke Palmer having her breakout or superstar moment and it’s wild we live in different worlds because in my household Keke been a star for forever Akeelah & The Bee was my dad’s favorite movie it went triple platinum in my home”.


    Snapshot from ‘The Harder They Fall”

    Colorism is defined by the NCCJ as “A practice of discrimination by which those with lighter skin are treated more favorably than those with darker skin. This practice is a product of racism in the United States, in that it upholds the white standards of beauty and benefits white people in the institutions of oppression (media, medical world, etc.). Colorism persists in Hollywood as many other individuals have shared their experiences and highlighted acts of colorism. Moreover, The Western movie The Harder They Fall portrayed a dark-skinned character with a light-skinned actress. Many people criticized the movie’s choice to cast Zazie Beetz as this character as she is a light-skinned woman. 

    Moreover, colorism applies to many races and ethnic backgrounds and is more dependent on skin tone. Underrepresentation of dark-skinned Indian women also occurs in Hollywood. Furthermore, Bridgerton actress Charithra Chandran opened up about her experiences with colorism. Her recent debut on the Netflix show Bridgerton landed her some new attention. The newest season casts two dark-skinned Indian women as leads. Charithra Chandran who played Edwina Sharma and her co-star Simone Ashley who played Kate Sharma were praised for their performances. Their representation as dark-skinned Indian women received positive feedback from viewers. 

    Edwina and Kate Sharma

    Furthermore, the comparisons of Zendaya and Keke Palmer open a new door to examine colorism in Hollywood. Casting light-skinned actresses for dark-skinned roles, and comparing dark-skinned actresses’ success to light-skinned actresses persists every day. Along with this, breaking down these patterns of colorism will allow for individualism among actors and actresses and the elimination of colorism. 


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