KeKe Palmer asked National Guardsmen to march with protesters, got them to take a knee


Keke Palmer is an actor, singer, tv personality, author and activist. She takes none of those titles lightly. Three years ago, Keke wrote a book, at the age of 23, which guided Millenials in how to be a voice of change in their communities. Keke strongly believes that global change starts locally so we should all get out in our own backyards and do the work. That is exactly what she did on Tuesday when she joined the protests in Hollywood and asked the National Guard to support their efforts by marching with them, which resulted in them taking a knee.

Using her voice. Keke Palmer urged members of the National Guard to march alongside Black Lives Matter protesters during a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday, June 2.

“We have people here that need your help,” the actress, 26, said to a group of guardsmen on a street in Hollywood in a video shared via Twitter by NBC News correspondent Gadi Schwartz. “This is when you and y’all stand together with the community, with society, to stop the governmental oppression. Period. We need you.”

She continued, “March with us. March beside us. Get your people. … Let the revolution be televised. March beside us and show us that you’re here for us. Make history with us, please. Let’s just do it. We start marching and you march with us.”

One of the men offered to “make a deal” with Palmer, saying, “I can’t leave this post. I will march through this street with you guys, this intersection to that intersection, but I have to control this area.”

The Daytime Emmy nominee pointed out the man’s use of the word “control” and shook her head. She then asked, “What is there to control? March with us. It’ll send a huge message.”

The guardsman reiterated that he was unable to leave the area because he had to ensure the safety of other demonstrators and nearby buildings. However, he and the other members of the National Guard took a knee in the street in support of Black Lives Matter. Palmer was still disappointed though, saying, “I’m at a loss ‘cause it’s not enough. That ain’t enough for me.”

[From Us]

The video of Keke’s exchange with the National Guardsman is below. The guardsmen took a knee when one of the protesters off camera asked for it as a gesture. The National Guard are military. I apologize if this comes across as both siding the story, but please remember I am a military kid. This guy had orders and he’s looking at a court martial and possible dishonorable discharge if he doesn’t follow those orders, both of which would go on his permanent record. I have no idea who the man in the video is. He could be a horrible racist who doesn’t care about Black Lives Matter, in which case, drum him out of the corps. But if he isn’t, if he’s a decent enough guy who got orders to deploy to LA over the weekend, I can understand his panic in trying to make that decision on the spot. Also remember that “taking a knee” is a military gesture of respect for the fallen, which is why Kaepernick adopted it, so those guardsmen dropping to a knee meant more than most of the cops who have done it.

That said, I do fully support Keke’s position and understand her frustration. She’s asked for a show of support from her government. She’s wanted proof they were there to protect the US citizens in the street, something that could have been accomplished while walking alongside them. The larger statement being made by the guardsmen only taking a token walk is the same one that we’ve expected Black Americans to accept since time immemorial: Be satisfied with what we give you. Keke’s right, there needs to be proof that the country will move away from systemic racism. Since every state in the union is asking for the same thing right at this moment, now would be a good time to show that it will.

Here is the full exchange:



Photo credit: WENN/Avalon and Twitter

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20 Responses to “KeKe Palmer asked National Guardsmen to march with protesters, got them to take a knee”

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  1. WilliamJoelene says:

    Nobel Peace Prize

  2. lemonylips says:

    This! This is what it should be like. I just cried like a little child. She was brilliant and you could see these men wanted to listen. I think they wanted to march with them too. I do understand their worry though, but am glad they showed interest and did what they felt they could.

    • Truthiness says:

      Please wear a mask guys!! It’s an accomplishment but please mask up so that people won’t die.

  3. Marianne says:

    I saw a comment on Facebook from someone who said they were in the army and basically said the same thing. They can’t just simply leave without losing their job and being in the military is their life. But noted that many have them have marched alongside protesters on their own time. You just don’t know cause they blend in.

  4. Lex says:

    What a woman!

    And because this is a gossip site, I’ll add that her bone structure is bloody beautiful, as is her skin.

    • Keiji says:

      Let’s not forget though that KEKE supported ALL LIVES MATTER! She kept pushing that narrative when people trued to sway her otherwise. I’m glad to see she’s changed, but that should be addressed.

  5. Pilot says:

    Fantastic speech, and she is right. And she was rightfully pissed off by the ‘resolution’ towards the end. Why? Because the time for empty gestures is over. People have died and died and died. It’s time for people to take a stand. To those posters who said that it was a difficult position for the military men to be in: They have put themselves in this position by signing up and then staying in the military and in the police. If you agree to follow orders in a racist and murderous organisation, hell an organisation which whole purpose it is to dominate others, i really have no sympathy for them. They knew what they were signing up for and were fine with it.
    This is why Keke asked them to march, it is time to take a stand, and not just stand by.

    • Rose says:

      Your post shows that you have zero understanding of what is required to be in the military. They aren’t supposed to follow illegal orders. Being told to maintain peace and de-escalate possible violence in a certain area is not an illegal order. If he’s been given a perimeter, he cannot leave it. Disobeying means, as the article said above, court martial and dishonourable discharge.

      If you would like to be the change you want to see in the armed forces, there are recruiting offices in every city. They will love to talk to you.

      • Pilot says:

        I have full understanding of what is required to be in the military. To be willing to follow orders to go kill people in Iraq and other places as well as threaten protesters in their own country apparently. Not supposed to follow illegal orders? And who pray decides what was illegal? The military itself, and political oversight, so the same people who have sent military out in the first place…

      • Haapa says:

        “If you would like to be the change you want to see in the armed forces, there are recruiting offices in every city. They will love to talk to you.”

        What a joke.

  6. Erinn says:

    I believe him when he says he couldn’t leave his post. This is his career, and he’s afraid to lose it. And honestly, I want people who CARE to be the ones in this line of work. I understand that in theory he could have done more – but there’s also the possibility that someone could come in and try to hurt the peaceful protesters, and I think he’d feel pretty horrible if something happened to one of them had he left his post. I know I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for that.

    But overall? We need much more of this. If the military and the cops would genuinely show empathy, show that they are there to support their right to peaceful protest, it’s still a step in the right direction. Given the level of corruption going on, it’s a start, but we have such a long way to go.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      And if you consider what the NYPD have been up to – ripping off a protestor’s mask to teargas him, beating a nurse on her way home from work, driving SUVs into crowds, shoving an unarmed and noncombative girl so that she falls and smashes her heads – there’s a sense that those who support the protests need to show it, need to be on the right side of history. But as you say, it would be horrifying for him to lose his job. In the situation, he did as much within the boundaries of his work that he could. It’s *a* start.

  7. StellainNH says:

    He seemed deeply moved and conflicted. I think she had a big effect on him.

  8. osito says:

    “ The larger statement being made by the guardsmen only taking a token walk is the same one that we’ve expected Black Americans to accept since time immemorial: Be satisfied with what we give you.”

    If this entire post had just been this statement over and over, it would have still been a highly worthy read. When people’s lives are lost, the “we’re doing our best” (with tokenism, with hollow gestures, with empty promises, with self-selecting who the “bad apples” are) puts us on notice that the brutality we experience is not coming to an end anytime soon. It tells us that you’re willing to follow the orders of a lunatic, even though you might feel “really conflicted” about it, and that has stopped being enough.

    • Pilot says:

      Exactly, well said! This is just not good enough anymore.
      Edit: I just read the article about Mattis criticising Trump and this quote jumps out: ‘But don’t canonize this dude because he left a job he never should have taken in the first place and is now issuing statements about how Trump is a garbage human being.’
      The same applies here, why are we applauding them to be moved or seem conflicted (eyeroll) when they should not have put themselves in the position in the first place? Over there, in the comments, Mattis is getting rightfully dragged. Here, people are keen to do the #notallcops spiel.

      • osito says:

        Thank you, Pilot! Reading your stuff on here, and I feel it, too. As to the question of giving gold stars to people for doing the bare minimum or less (sooooo much less): The training to do this is in the damn water. It’s having to make a show of saying thank you and being grateful for Missy’s hand-me-downs from the big house out in the cabins, so you can survive. It’s hoping to be safe because you’re “one of the good ones”. It’s groveling for crumbs from the table in lieu of sitting at the head of it, or better yet, erasing the table from existence and building a new table, where everyone is fed, accommodated, and treated with respect. And it’s a hell of a whole lot more.

        As for why it’s expected, I think the main reason is white fragility: When your very existence is so brittle that you cannot withstand the fair and justified *criticism* of those you’ve long held under water; that you crumble to dust when reminded that you did not create yourself whole cloth from *nothing* but instead and in fact live in a society where your feelings and thoughts and desires matter more than the rest of us; when you refuse to consider losing your job because your job is worth more than someone else’s life; when you weaponize your tears; when you justify your complicity in the system *never* changing, — and in fact boomeranging back to OPEN, LOUD hostility and racism (aside, if y’all don’t start snatching people flashing OK signs at cameras by their short hairs and ruining their whole lives, you’re hopeless and we’re doomed) — with “you don’t understand” or “I’m trying” then you cannot lay any claim to strength, or empathy, or good intention. It’s brittle soul syndrome. It’s white fragility.

  9. Veronica S. says:

    Something I can’t help think about reading about this, having growing up around military men and women, is how tightly interwoven military life is with some communities if only because it provides the only means of economic and social upward mobility. If you look at the demographics of the military, it becomes even more obvious when you see non-whites and Hispanics make up nearly 40% of the military – which are some hefty high numbers when you think about total racial demographics across the United States. It makes me question what a military response would even look like given those numbers, yet I also dread finding out precisely because these people are locked into the capitalist system like so many others. They have families to feed. They have their safety to consider. If they walk away from orders, they get court martialed and jailed – but there must be a point where they ask themselves how many atrocities are committed in the name of “just orders.”

    My feelings toward the military lean toward negative after growing up in a military family since, quite frankly, it’s just as imperialist as you expect it to be, but it did give me an appreciation for how chillingly efficient and streamlined its economic model is, the way it’s been embedded through propaganda and by an intentional lack of social safety nets to be a form of empowerment for so many people. You can’t trust people in uniform, but a large part of that distrust is created by our own helpless complicity in a system that ultimately turns *all* of us into commodities, using our rage and anger to direct our violence at each other for the scraps. One of the big things they emphasized in the social justice and economic protests I’ve done is that racial justice is economic justice, impossible to achieve separately, and nothing I’ve seen in the years sense has done anything but impress the significance of that statement. The system needs dismantled on several layers before you can hope to fix the whole of it.

  10. Rebecca says:

    I am former military. I did retweet this video, and noted that he (and those with him) were respectful, listened, AND tried to find a way to be with them without violating their orders. They were conflicted, for sure. Defying orders certainly has its own consequences. I hope I’m not both-siding it, but acknowledge I may be. I just know how the military tends to work when there is deviance from the orders given.

    • osito says:

      You are. Both-sidesing it, that is. You could have avoided that by acknowledging that Keke Palmer wasn’t wrong in demanding for more and better, and that what she was offered (even if it was with the best of intentions) was not enough. If you don’t want to both sides it, stop refocusing on the people on the wrong side.

  11. lucy2 says:

    She was so effective, I felt like he was close to saying “F– it, let’s go march.” I’m sad he didn’t. Her frustration is palpable.
    I can’t imagine the bravery it requires to take on a military guy standing there with an automatic weapon. I’m in awe of her right now.