Keke Palmer Began Performing at the Age of 5 – Glimpse inside Her Road to Stardom

Keke Palmer’s career as an actress, singer, and talk show host has made her stand out as a phenomenal entertainer with impeccable talent.

Keke Palmer might have started as a child actress, but she has defied the odds, also flourishing as a talk show host and a singer.

Unlike most child stars who have struggled to find their footing as they mature, Palmer has dominated the entertainment scene as a Jill of all trades who doesn’t plan on ever slowing down.

Keke Palmer at the IFP’s 29th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on December 02, 2019 in New York City. | Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP


Palmer was born Lauren Keyana Palmer on August 26, 1993, in Harvey, Illinois, to creative parents Sharon and Larry, who were theatre actors who transitioned into regular nine-to-five jobs. Her mother was a teacher who worked with students with autism while her dad worked at a plastics manufacturing company.

At the young age of five, Palmer already knew that her life’s purpose was to entertain others and began performing in her choir, inspired by her mother. Soon after, she transitioned into stage acting after her mother took her to a local theatre, and she performed at a stage show in a famous tourist spot in Chicago. 

Keke Palmer attends Echoing Soundz and Walter Mosley Firm “Fa La La Holiday Bash” on December 19, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. | Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images


Not long after her stage performance, Palmer’s career took a significant leap when she made her movie debut in “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” with a minor role as Queen Latifah’s nephew. She flourished so well in the role, and her parents thought it wise to relocate to Hollywood, to help her better pursue her dreams.

Soon, roles on television shows sprung up, and Palmer appeared in “Law & Order,” “ER,” Cold Case,” “Strong Medicine,” and “Knights of the South Bronx.”

Keke Palmer talks about her movie “Pimp” at Build Studio on February 07, 2019 in New York City. | Photo by Anthony DelMundo/Getty Images

However, it wasn’t until 2006 that Palmer’s big break came when she got the lead in “Akeelah & The Bee.” The movie, which saw Palmer play the role of a young girl who competed in the National Spelling Bee championship alongside Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne, earned her critical acclaim.

That same year, she also starred in “Madea’s Family Reunion” and released her debut album, “So Uncool.” It’s hit track, “All My Girlz,” was featured in “Akeelah & The Bee,” and Palmer soon signed to Atlantics Records.

Graciously handling her music and acting career, Palmer featured in several more movies and television shows, including “The Cleaner,” “Longshots,” “Joyful Noise,” “True Jackson VP,” “Imperial Dreams,” “Masters of Sex,” Scream Queens,” “Hustlers” and many more.

Keke Palmer attends her listening party at 40 / 40 Club on April 18, 2018 in New York City. | Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images


With a host of movies and shows to her name, it was assumed that Palmer would continue down that road. However, she took a detour into the world of television hosting, proving that she can indeed do it all.

In 2014, Palmer got her own talk show on BET, “Just Keke,” making her the youngest television show host. Although it lasted for one season, it propelled her to greater heights and landed a spot on the “Good Morning America” spin-off variety show, “Strahan and Sara” in 2017.

Palmer initially came as a replacement for host Sara Haines, who on maternity leave, but in 2019 it was announced that she would be a permanent host on the show. Hence, it was renamed “Strahan, Sara, and Keke.”

Keke Palmer attends NAACP Image Awards Screening of “PIMP” on December 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images


After her first album, Palmer released to mixtapes, “Awaken” and “Keke Palmer,” before her second album, “Waited to Exhale,” was released in 2017.

She also starred on Broadway as Cinderella in 2014, making her the first African-American to take on the role. Away from that, she is a proud author of a book titled, “I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice.”

Keke Palmer attends Refinery29 Presents 29Rooms New York: Expand Your Reality Experience 2019 on December 05, 2019 in Brooklyn City. | Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for Refinery29


With such a platform, Palmer hasn’t shied away from the heavy responsibility of using her voice to speak up against injustice.

Such was the case in June 2020, during the Black Lives Matter movement that ensued after the fatal killing of George Floyd, when a viral video of Palmer on Twitter showed her imploring members of the National Guard to march with protesters.

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