Keke Palmer covers the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. Like most of the magazines this summer, this is just a hodge-podge “double issue” made from mostly remote work. Keke was interviewed over Zoom or Facetime too, and the interview happened in June, after the murder of George Floyd and after the protests were taking hold in nearly every city. Keke spoke at length about the incident with a National Guardsman, which went viral in June. But she barely talks about her projects – good thing, because her talk show was recently cancelled. You can read the full Cosmo piece here. Some highlights:
On the murders of George Floyd & others: “If you’re a human being with a heart, with breath in your lungs, it’s just too much to bear. I feel as if we can’t go back now. It’s only going forward.”
How she first responded to the protests: “With a lot of different emotions, when I saw some of the violence. I couldn’t actually see myself doing that because I work from a different place, but I understand it. There are people out there who feel like that is their only option in order to be heard or their only way to have access to something they feel represents value. If the language for so long toward you has been violence, how would you expect someone to respond? I feel like there’s such a lack of compassion.
When she sees soldiers or cops kneeling with BLM protesters: “I thought it wasn’t enough. George Floyd died because somebody kneeled on his neck. I’m not looking for you to kneel. I’m not looking for a moment. I’m looking for us to stand together. If now isn’t the time to do it, then when is? Because there was a time when standing up to the slave master seemed crazy as hell too.
Why the protests feel different this time: “Of course no one wanted the coronavirus pandemic to happen, but I think quarantine allowed us to be more reflective. Maybe before, we’d be able to gloss over it because of work. It’s also been a buildup: There have been so many names turned into hashtags, so much pain. It blows me away because our language has progressed—I don’t mean specifically Black people. I mean young people, millennials. Naming white supremacy, saying that out loud. When I heard “defund the police,” I’m like, Oh, sh-t. We actually could do that.
On Trump: “I think President Trump plays into it too. He’s inciting a race war. His craziness is inspiring us to just really get him the f–k out! It’s like we needed somebody who riled us up so much for us to be activated to the point of saying, “Oh, hell no. I can’t let this guy continue. I have to do something. I have to find a way to let my voice be heard and to let people know that I’m not with this.”
I 100% agree with her that asking or wanting cops or soldiers to kneel is just going to end up as a bullsh-t stunt for them. So many cops did the “kneeling with protesters” thing for the cameras, and then they would return hours later and tear-gas kids and assault peaceful protesters. I also agree with her about how quickly the conversation is changing: “It blows me away because our language has progressed—I don’t mean specifically Black people. I mean young people, millennials. Naming white supremacy, saying that out loud. When I heard “defund the police,” I’m like, Oh, sh-t. We actually could do that.” I had the same feeling! I’d heard “defund the police” for so long, I thought it was just a progressive pipe dream, the political equivalent of “I want a pony.” But sh-t, defunding the police to varying degrees could really happen and in some places, it’s already happening. And yes, Trump pours gas on the fire. He’s actively looking for a race war.
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Photos and cover courtesy of Cosmo.