Born in a small town just outside of Chicago, IL, performer Keke Palmer initially gravitated to singing as a young child, but soon landed a memorable screen role as the niece of Queen Latifah in the urban comedy Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004). Palmer turned to acting given the success of this first assignment; its positive reception prompted the budding actress' family to relocate to Southern California and doubtless helped open the doors that led to Palmer's first lead portrayal. She played Akeelah, the 11-year-old daughter of a single parent who ascends through the ranks of spelling bee competitions, in the sleeper hit Akeelah and the Bee (2006). Palmer subsequently teamed up with director Tyler Perry twice, first with a role in his comedy Madea's Family Reunion, then with a guest spot on his series Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and landed the lead role in the teen movie musical Jump In! (2007), a made-for-television picture about two adolescents who compete against one another in a rope-skipping competition.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for Akeelah and the Bee in 2006, when she was only 13.
- Appears on the soundtrack for Disney Channel's Original Movie Jump In!
- Released her debut album titled So Uncool in 2007.
- Has worked with Saving Our Daughters and the YMCA USA since 2011.
- Appeared as the first African-American Cinderella in the 2014 Broadway production.