Over the weekend, amid ongoing Nope talk, some began to refer to Palmer’s role in the film (as Emerald Haywood, sister to Daniel Kaluuya’s character OJ) as a “breakout role” despite her years-long career dating all the way back to her debut in 2004’s Barbershop 2: Back in Business and subsequent star-making performance in ’06’s Akeelah and the Bee.
From there, the conversation splintered into those noting the oft-varying definitions of “mainstream,” as well as a widely shared thread in which Keke, 28, and Zendaya, 25—who both began their careers as child actors—were compared.
By Sunday evening, Palmer herself entered the conversation with a two-tweet retort against the idea that Nope marked her “breakout” moment.
“A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone,” she said in one tweet. “I’m the youngest talk show host ever. The first Black woman to star in her own show on Nickelodeon, & the youngest & first Black Cinderella on broadway. I’m an incomparable talent. Baby, THIS, is Keke Palmer.”
In a follow-up tweet, she pointed out the fact that she has more than 100 credits to her name and has worked in a “leading lady” capacity since she was 11 years old, with the most recent example of this being this weekend’s box office-topping Jordan Peele entry.
Speaking with Karla Rodriguez for Complex this month to mark Nope’s release, Peele revealed he knew “off the bat” that he wanted to cast Palmer as Emerald. According to the director, he specifically tailored the part to her performance methods.
“We met early on and I just got a sense of her and got a sense of what she could bring to the role and I basically wrote it for her,” Peele told Complex. “I wrote it for her and Daniel and she is just everything you want her to be. She really is that wonderful and that talented.”
Nope is out now and also stars Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, and Michael Wincott. For an optimal viewing experience, one should go out of their way to avoid any spoiler-filled reviews and go in as blind as possible.