Child stars often have a hard time transitioning into adult entertainers, but when it comes to Keke Palmer it seems fans and onlookers are the ones who have the hardest time accepting the actress is no longer a child, but a grown woman with her own thoughts about God, sexuality, marriage, men, and more.
Misunderstood is a word I would use to describe how Palmer is generally perceived. And I get it. Seemingly overnight, she went from the cute, virtuous kid on True Jackson, VP and Akkelah and the Bee, to a woman unafraid to bare her skin or her soul. And the 23-year-old did just that in a remarkably intimate interview with Vibe Vixen in which she talks about the cycle of family trauma she’s become a part of and the healing she’s had to work through as a result. Check out the highlights of the conversation with reporter Marjua Estevez.
On what it means for her to be a Black woman in America today
You just have to be you and not feel like you have to attach yourself to things to prove that you’re black. I feel like so many things in culture and in general are subjective. Being black in America comes with a lot of sh*t, but you don’t have to attach yourself to it. Just because [someone] tells me my culture is ignorance… history shows me that’s only because [someone] didn’t allow my people to learn anything. Black American people are the only people that don’t have a country of their own, meaning we don’t even feel connected to Africa.
On how the history of Blacks in America has personally affected her family
That really hurts me, because when I realize that’s what happened to me and my family, it really hurt me. Because that’s not right that [my] people don’t get a chance. I have so much sh*t in my family that they blame on themselves….What’s become of them out of suffrage. My cousin was molested from the time he was a little boy. He ended up molesting somebody else, spent the rest of his life in jail, from 17 to 28. But that’s not him. That’s what happened to him. But he believes that’s him—no. That was traumatic what happened to [him], and [he’s] traumatized. And [he] lives in a distorted place. What [he] did was not [him]. That was not [him]. And I hate that so many black people have negative sh*t put on them, because of what’s being forced upon them. [If] you’re constantly beat over the head with sexual sh*t, with alcohol and every other negative thing, and when your humanity responds to that, you’re wrong. What happens to a little boy if he gets raped and his dick gets hard? That don’t mean he liked it. That’s what black people have been through repeatedly. I hate that black people have to take on that kind of pain. It hurts me. We take it on like…It’s just really f-cked up, because there’s nothing you can do.
On opening up about her molestation
I talk about it in my book, yeah. I realized I needed to say it out loud. And once I realized that, it was just bursting out of me. That’s when my creativity really came out the ass and I was like, I have to change what we’re being seen as. I have to do everything I can to try to let these kids know that they can be whoever they want to be, because I know the truth now. I know what’s happened to my people [and] it’s because I’ve lived it. That’s my life. I felt bad when I was molested, and I started thinking about having sex and masturbating at five years old and watching porn at six. I felt bad. I felt bad about myself, but I was molested.
Who molested her
My cousin. My female cousin. And I didn’t know that that’s how my mind was going to respond to it. I mean, but this is the problem in these poor communities. If you were in Beverly f**king Hills, your parents would have put you in therapy and you would have gotten a bunch of Xanax and nobody would have heard about the sh*t. That’s not what happens in the ‘hood….she was older. But she was molested, too. And her mother molested my mom when my mom was younger. So that’s what I’m trying to tell you. This is the sh*t that goes on…
And honestly, these things are no one’s fault. You have a tissue? You have a paper towel for me? [Pauses] I feel like we don’t talk about sh*t. Let’s take it all the way back to slavery and sh*t. We had no time to be like, “Yo, you good b?” It was no time to say any of that sh*t. So in our culture, it’s like a thing where we always have to be good, even when we’re not good. And I really want us to stop doing that. What are we trying to do that for? It hurts that this happened to us and that we’re still in a motherfu**ing country that doesn’t give a f**k about us.
I’m not even fu**ing considered in the Constitution. Why are we acting like that’s alright? For real, young people today, we have to change the Constitution. We have to figure out a way to get it rewritten because it’s not right. I’m not considered in that, neither is our president. We’re not even considered full people, so why are we still abiding by a law in a rule book of a system that doesn’t factor me? Ultimately, that’s the revolution. That’s the revolution that has to happen. We don’t have to keep marching. Why we in the streets still? Martin did that. Now, it’s our turn to do the other work, which is going into those buildings, getting those positions, getting that education, paying attention, voting for the mayors and the city councils, finding out who’s trying to be the senator.
How she views her sexuality now
On a spectrum. The same way I’m thinking about marriage and stuff, same way I’m thinking about relationships. It’s all moment to moment.
Her views on marriage
My parents have been together for 30 years… [but] I really don’t believe that I’ll just have one love in my life. I think I can have many great loves with different people, and really just love them as intensely as I love the last. Having said that, I’ve never been married before and people that are married might think differently. But for me, I don’t know if I need a contract to tell me I’m good with somebody. I don’t really feel like it does anything. It doesn’t really add anything for me. It’s a social construct. It puts pressure on you to fill a role and to be a kind of person and to act a certain way, as opposed to y’all just chilling and doing y’all. We treat ourselves like we supposed to be the same forever, but we always changing.
And I hate the double standards. Why can’t a girl date girls and date guys, but a guy can’t date guys and date girls? To me, that just doesn’t make any sense. He’s labeled gay, but she ain’t? But if she dress like Young M.A, then she’s gay. But b***hes that look like Young M.A fuck n***as too. Real talk, I don’t like how people do that. Why aren’t you just you? The you, you want to be in the moment. We can’t change our minds? I can’t date women for 50 years and then at 51 want to be with a man? Why?
Read more on Keke’s thoughts on Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, politics, and more on VibeVixen.