Keke Palmer's "Ungorgeous"
While social media continues to figure out the status of Keke Palmer and Darius Jackson's relationship, our girl is running to the bank and hitting the stage as she’s embarking on a tour for her second studio album, Big Boss. Palmer is gearing up to release the album's deluxe version, featuring four new records, including “Ungorgeous.”
Palmer spoke to BET.com to discuss the single, sharing how she revisited the 10-year-old song, which allowed her to express her vulnerabilities like never before, her relationship with social media and controlling her narrative, and a childhood dream she’s calling into existence.
BET.com: Ungorgeous is such a personal record. As someone who has been open about their self-image and affirming yourself, what was going through your mind when recording this song?
Palmer: So I was revisiting this record, I had done this song maybe a little over ten years ago – I just had never dropped it. I’ve gone through so many changes with music and evolving as an artist and, you know, being comfortable with sharing my work that way. And for me, when I came and revisited it, I think of so many things I have experienced in my life that allowed me to have the strength to express my vulnerabilities in a way that I never had before. When I came back to the song and was recording it again, I came back to it with such strength and liberation, to be able sometimes to own those feelings that we were afraid to share or sell out.”
BET.com: You have a great relationship with social media and how you express yourself, giving us a little and a lot simultaneously. How do you make sure to have social media work with you rather than against you while protecting your loved ones and controlling your narrative before others can?
Palmer: You have to think about what you’re doing it for and stay on par with that instead of thinking about how people are responding to or interacting with you – at least not from a personal standpoint. Now, from a professional standpoint, if you can stay in the observer seat of what it is that you’re trying to produce, what you want people to consume from you, and how you’re trying to be of service, then it can help you not to personalize things so much and get to a place where you are giving more than maybe you need to. It’s a lot of trial and error and work in progress, but I’ve learned how to balance that relationship and save things for myself. They won’t be able to say something, only if you say nothing at all. There’s some power in that if that’s comfortable for people. I would say don’t address things you don’t want to address – it's like that old saying with fools on the street who are arguing because once you start arguing, people don’t know the difference. You don’t need to prove things to people, and I let a lot of sh*t rock and let people think what they want to think. I address things that make sense to me and leave the rest of the sh*t alone. I’m not a fool, so I won’t respond to foolish things.
BET.com: You’re checking off every childhood dream appearing in a video with Usher, appearing in a Kenan and Kel-inspired skit on SNL — what’s another childhood dream you’re looking to check off?
Palmer: I would love to do a movie with Raven Symoné – I think we would kill it together. It would be like a buddy comedy where she could be an old school cop, I’m a new school cop, or she’s the teacher, and I’m the student. There’s something in there, and she’s so good we must do something together. Raven Symoné is the inspiration, not just talented and an actor, but somebody who built a brand. Not many people built a brand at that time and age, so people like [Raven[ and [Bow Wow]. They’ve seen it happen so often that people don’t realize they were prodigies. Bow Wow’s and Raven’s careers have always been the marker for child success, especially for Black children when it comes to opportunities. I would also say people like Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry – I will always tip my hat off to the legend.”
BET.com: You tweeted out, “Watched Brotherly Love again the other night. That movie really was good 😭” — what would you say is the best body of work that you’ve done besides Akeelah and the Bee that challenged you the most?
Palmer: It will probably be a cross between Nope and my film Pimp. The reason I chose Nope is because it was a high-pressure job that I knew a lot of people were going to watch since it was a Jordan Peele movie. I was being so intense and detailed, which I am with everything I do. I don’t care if people may not enjoy the film, but I do care about knowing I did my best in my role. I can’t control opinions, but I can control myself by knowing my lines and not wasting anyone’s time. As for Pimp, it was a difficult set. Aside from the difficult material, it was a heavy movie about somebody who lived a heavy lifestyle with the whole pimp thing and mom being on drugs, which is a harsh life. I’ll also say the film [Alice] – even though it’s an empowering movie, there’s a period where I had to be in a slavery mindset, where an actor is committed, but their headspaces can be very draining.
You can watch her latest visual for her record, "Ungorgeous," above.
Ty Cole is an LA-based entertainment reporter and writer for BET.com who covers all things pop culture, entertainment, and lifestyle. Follow his latest musings on Twitter @IamTyCole.
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