Zendaya’s recent social media comparisons to Keke Palmer’s career don’t appear to be going over well with the actress. There has been much discussion on Twitter this weekend about the seeming disparity in public popularity between Zendaya and Nope star Palmer, which was cited as “one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood” by a Saturday tweet.
Nope, Palmer’s breakout role was brought up in a Twitter conversation about Palmer and Zendaya, two former child stars. On Sunday, Palmer wrote on Twitter, “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.”
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The 28-year-old star proceeded, “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.”
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.🥳❤️🙏🏾
— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) July 24, 2022
Nope, a science fiction horror thriller starring Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya debuted at the top of the weekend box office with an estimated $44 million. Nicktoon’s True Jackson, VP, starring Palmer, started in 2008 and lasted for three seasons. On the small screen, she has been in a number of films including Akeelah and the Bee, Scream Queens, Hustlers, and this year’s Pixar picture, Lightyear.
What Exactly is Colorism, and Why Are Celebrities Like Zendaya and Keke Palmer Being Held Up as Instances of It?
“Colorism” is a term used to describe an individual’s preference for lighter or darker skin. This type of colorism tends to be more prevalent in minorities. Racism is at the basis of this idea, which holds that a person’s worth or worthiness is solely based on the appearance they present, particularly the color of their skin.
Plantation slavery in the United States can be traced back to the concept of colorism. Those with paler complexions received preferential treatment over those with darker complexions. In many cases, white slave owners’ offspring were lighter-skinned people who were slaves. They, too, came to believe that they were superior to their darker counterparts because of their lighter skin.
Whitewashing and colorism have been charges leveled against Hollywood in recent years. After being accused of the same, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the actor and filmmaker, apologized. An episode of the ABC sitcom Black-ish in which their son brings home his school photos raised the issue of colorism. This picture indeed shows the son, however, Marsai Martin’s twin cannot be clearly seen due to improper lighting for her skin.
When Peter Saji, the show’s co-producer, acknowledged the issue and claimed he never realized how fortunate he was to be light-skinned because of it, the audience laughed.
He has previously stated:
“For dark skin Black women, it not only means being passed over for lighter skin women in the dating and labor market, but it also means rarely seeing a dark skin woman as the love interest of the main character.”
There are others on the internet who are pointing out that Keke Palmer is being labeled a “rising star” while she is already a well-known actress. According to some, it’s because of her darker skin tone compared to Zendaya’s.