Keke Palmer has a lot going on personally and professionally these days. She and her boyfriend, Darius Jackson, welcomed their first son at the end of February. She got the Vanguard Award, she has a new content hub, and she has a new album out called Big Boss. But what I didn’t realize is Keke also wrote and directed a docuo-film to accompany her new album, about her journey through the music industry. The film covers the difficulties she faced, like sexual harassment and the blurring of the lines between mom and manager. She spoke to People about the album and film. Some highlights:
On what’s different about Big Boss and growing as an artist: What sets it apart is the space that I’m in now, my ability to really go forward and not feel like something is missing. I’m just in a place now where — not to say I’m not collaborative or I don’t care what other people say, but essentially there’s a part of me that doesn’t really care what other people say. ‘Cause if I believe in it, then that’s what’s going to make the difference. I think that me not being afraid to do my own thing is what’s made the biggest difference where I’m at currently as an artist.
On the preventative measures we take as women: Being a woman is like, “Damn, the biggest mistake you can make is trusting somebody.” Damn, I just shouldn’t have trusted someone? I wish that there was more that we could do, but it seems like we can’t even really expect for people to respect our boundaries. Now, my best way of coping is to just not go places alone, not really let my hair down, not really get too comfortable. I mean, I’ve had to do so much preventative s— because I can’t trust people to behave. The sad thing is that you learn these things from being in bad situations. It almost feels like it’s a coming-of-age story for a woman.
On Me Too in the music industry: It hasn’t happened in music, and it should. Bad s— happens in all industries, obviously, but specifically entertainment. We know bad things happen in all of them, but it’s almost like the acting world represents a union and the music industry represents non-union. With music, it’s like everybody is being paid, and everybody’s a crooked cop. So, it seems like nothing will ever really come to a head.
What Keke says about her current confidence in herself and her artistic abilities is inspiring. Believing in her own vision and abilities and not second-guessing herself and her instincts at this point in her life and career is a wonderful thing and valuable mindset regardless of industry. And I like that she notes that you can be collaborative and receive feedback while still believing in your own vision. As for what Keke says about trusting people and them respecting our boundaries… Yeah, unfortunately she is completely right. It’s like our guard has to be up at all times because there’s always the possibility of someone behaving badly or in a way that breaks your trust — not even necessarily your personal trust in them, but your trust in like, a polite society and appropriate, normal behavior. And it sucks to think that you learn from these situations and you can’t even, for example, be friendly or kind without people getting the wrong idea and pushing past your boundaries. Keke alludes to the situation with Trey Songz, but also notes many other instances of sexual harassment and misogyny that she’s faced as a woman in the music industry. And it seems like she’s right about the music industry so far. At this point, it doesn’t seem like it’s faced the “reckoning” that the acting industry has faced and though there are lots of rumors, there are few people speaking out about what’s happening there.
Keke and Baby Leo photographed by me 🤍 pic.twitter.com/A00JRzccAP
— IG: @jpwphoto (@cameramanjake) May 14, 2023