Twitter recently lit up with online debates about colorism. Users chimed in about colorism its influence on celebrity status. The conversation was centered around Keke Palmer and Zendaya and their levels of accomplishments. This ignited a dialogue about whether colorism is an influencing factor on success.
The Twitter Post
The whole conversation started when Twitter user Melinda Eg pointed out that she believed Palmer’s career had not been as popular in the mainstream consciousness compared to Zendaya’s. The Twitter user Melinda Eg tweeted:
“I’d like someone to do a deep-drive on the similarities and differences between Keke Palmer and Zendaya’s careers. This may be one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood. They were both child stars, but their mainstream popularity is very different.”
I'd like someone to do a deep-drive on the similarities and differences between Keke Palmer and Zendaya's careers. This may be one of the clearest examples of how colorism plays out in Hollywood. They were both child-stars, but their mainstream popularity is very different. https://t.co/Cmy1CXGQeI pic.twitter.com/etO27HVN0Y
— Melinda Eg (@NBAgladiator) July 23, 2022
Melinda Eg’s tweet was a response to a tweet put out by Aiyana N. Ishmael stating:
“It’s so interesting seeing the conversation around Keke Palmer having her breakout or superstar moment and it’s wild we live in different worlds because in my household Keke been a star for forever Akeelah & The Bee was my dad’s favorite movie it went triple platinum in my home.”
It’s so interesting seeing the conversation around Keke Palmer having her breakout or superstar moment and it’s wild we live in different worlds because in my household Keke been a star for forever Akeelah & The Bee was my dad’s favorite movie it went triple platinum in my home.
— Aiyana N. Ishmael (@aiyanaish) July 23, 2022
The Reality Of Colorism
These tweets began to gain traction by the Twitter community, it triggered a conversation about colorism, and the privilege that comes with having a lighter skin tone. When Beyoncé said “There’s complexities in complexion.” It pretty much summed up the concept of colorism and how it affects people’s lives. It has been proven over time that colorism is a significant issue that favors talents who are lighter skinned. There have been moments in pop culture and day-to-day life where dark-skinned Black women have gotten condemned because of their dark skin, while women with lighter skin tones have been exalted for the same behavior or worse. The history of colorism is dark, twisted and valid.
Keke Palmer And Zendaya
Although the argument that colorism is a real menace is valid, it would be lazy to assume that it automatically grants people success. Palmer and Zendaya both started their careers as child actors, captivating the hearts of many across the world through their innocence and artistry. As their careers progressed and their fan bases grew, Zendaya became more prominent on-screen for her various acting roles, commercials and red carpet appearances. Keke Palmer also progressed within her career, however, she was not getting the recognition that she deserved in spite of her impressive repertoire.
Although Zendaya is a light-skinned Black woman who has also admitted that her light skin has given her an advantage in the entertainment industry, it would be unfair to insinuate that she did not put any effort into honing and perfecting her craft. Also, the main conversation lies in the idea that Keke Palmer has not gotten more commercial success considering the longevity of her career in show business, and the depth of her talent.
Zendaya is half white she gets opportunities a dark skinned young black girl doesn't get. I can't feel sorry for someone like her because she has privilege. Zendaya benefits from colorism from a Hollywood which gives more opportunities to someone lighter skinned.
— OrvilleLloydDouglas🇨🇦🏳️🌈 (@OrvilleLloyd) June 25, 2020
I’ve been a leading lady since I was 11 years old. I have over 100+ credits, and currently starring in an original screenplay that’s the number one film at the box office #NOPE. I’ve had a blessed career thus far, I couldn’t ask for more but God continues to surprise me.🥳❤️🙏🏾
— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) July 24, 2022
Both Keke Palmer and Zendaya are incredibly talented, but Twitter Melinda Eg makes a valid point when she says that the glaring inequity in their careers is a clear sign of colorism. Dismissing the presence of colorism is not only counterproductive, it fails to bring those who are responsible to order, and only when we have these open conversations can the restructuring happen.