Entertainment And News

Keke Palmer Hits Back At Zendaya Comparisons Amid Colorism In Hollywood Debate

Photo: Parisa Michelle / Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Keke Palmer, Zendaya

Jordan Peele’s third new movie, “Nope,” was released over the weekend and quickly became number one at the box office, marking Peele’s third number one movie.

While Peele is seeing a lot of success from the sci-fi horror movie, one of the main stars, Keke Palmer, is also getting a lot of divisive attention — people argue whether or not this is her mainstream breakout role.

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To address the claims of colorism from some Twitter groups, Palmer addressed the issue herself in a series of Tweets.

The real colorism in Hollywood, according to Keke Palmer, comes from comparing her to Zendaya in the first place.

“A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone,” Palmer tweeted on July 24, 2022.

This was in response to an original tweet that asked for a deep dive “on the similarities and differences between Keke Palmer and Zendaya's careers.”

“This may be one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood,” this person claimed. “They were both child stars, but their mainstream popularity is very different.”

Although both Palmer and Zendaya began their careers as child stars, their successes vary wildly — depending on your perspective.

Both stars have won one Primetime Emmy award, and have handfuls of other award wins and nominations.

Keke Palmer has over 100+ acting credits while Zendaya has over 50.

The only area where it seems like Zendaya takes the cake is social media following.

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Zendaya broke through social media barriers for her roles in "Euphoria", the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and her most recent role in Dune.

She has nearly 150 million followers on Instagram and over 21 million followers on Twitter, which is what leads people to believe that Zendaya’s overall popularity is much higher.

Not only that but Zendaya, likely with the help of those major roles, is paid far more than Palmer — Zendaya is reported to have a net worth of $20 million compared to $7 million for Palmer.

While many people point to colorism as the reason behind that gap, others point to the successes of the roles they played as well as the different lanes they occupy.

Euphoria was a huge social media success thanks to the Gen Z target demographic, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be placed in that camp as well.

Palmer has largely remained on the small screen, performing in leading roles on television versus movie screens — she also isn’t a fashion model like Zendaya is.

“I’m the youngest talk show host ever,” Palmer states. “The first Black woman to star in her own show on Nickelodeon, & the youngest & first Black Cinderella on broadway. I’m an incomparable talent.”

Palmer has plenty of accolades and successes in her own right, she just isn’t the largest social media star in the world.

This isn’t to say that colorism in Hollywood doesn’t exist, nor does it mean that Palmer doesn’t fall victim to it, but to discredit Palmer’s career for colorism claims is something that she herself won’t stand for.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Since graduating from Rutgers University, he spends most of his free time gaming or playing Quadball. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.

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