Actress and activist Keke Palmer dishes on upcoming projects, social justice at virtual Q&A

Lauren Reid, Staff Reporter

In the midst of a global pandemic and turbulent presidential election, the Oakland University community came together on Wed. Oct 11 for a virtual-live conversation — along with some much-needed positivity and motivation — featuring actress and activist, Keke Palmer

Hosted by OU senior and Student Life Lecture Board (SLLB) co-chair, Drake Lambright, Palmer answered attendees’ previously submitted questions authentically and earnestly — dishing on her book, “I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice,” social justice, previous roles and her upcoming film, “Alice.”

To kick off the event, Palmer touched on the impact of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris being elected to office as the first female, Black and South Asian vice president. 

“I’m so happy for [Harris] to break that glass ceiling, it truly is mind-blowing,” Palmer said. “It’s hard for us often to see women in these official positions, let alone a woman of color. For her to be able to break through like she did — it shows the kids what’s possible.” 

Palmer also touched on the Black Lives Matter movement, as a question stemmed from a video of Palmer speaking to the National Guard and asking them to “march with us” and join in the protest. 

“In that moment, I [had] so much inside and sometimes I feel it’s crazy that we don’t all come together [more],” Palmer said. “I hate that it’s become a normal thing in our society — since we were kids — to have undertones of discrimination and uncomfortableness. At the end of the day, we all bleed. If we’re all on the same team for humanity and human rights, then let’s keep it real, step outside of our comfort zones and put it on the line because this is worth it.” 

In lieu of her upcoming film, “Alice,” set in the 1970s and inspired by a girl who decides to leave the plantation, Palmer spoke on the movie’s plot and how she takes on emotionally demanding roles. 

“When the movie opens up, we see a plantation and see that Alice is a slave,” Palmer said. “Something ends up happening on the plantation where Alice decides she’s ready to run [and] when she gets through the woods, we realize we weren’t in the 1800s the whole time [but rather] the 1970s. [The film] covers history that even past the abolishment of slavery, people were still kept into slavery without even knowing. Obviously, we’ve taken some jumps with it being 1973, but it covers that historical fact [along with] Alice’s journey alongside the character she meets.” 

Palmer mentioned filming “Alice” is “emotional acrobats.” 

“You have to really hone into your skill in order to bounce back and go in and out of those beats everyday,” Palmer said. 

In the middle of such an unprecedented year of change and new normals, Palmer said everybody has to do what they can for themselves.

“We aren’t going to have all the answers,” Palmer said. “The best thing we can do is be nice to ourselves, love ourselves and put ourselves first [to ensure] we’re mentally well, otherwise we won’t be able to be good for anybody. We also have to hold close the people that we love and find happiness there.”

Palmer also stressed the importance of a positive mindset.

“You can’t let yourself be too consumed with negativity — you have to look at it, feel it and be aware — but then turn it inward.” 

For more information on upcoming events, visit GrizzOrgs.