Keke Palmer is an actor, singer and performer — and now she may be on her way to becoming a media mogul. Palmer announced on her social media platforms last week that she’s launching a digital network in the hopes of opening for other people all the doors she’s ever walked through.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, but this is what I’m most proud of,” she captioned the video posted to Instagram. “Y’all always say I keep a job, now I’m making sure we ALL got one. Sharing the keys to the culture is my greatest gift — this is for you & for us, from me.”
Palmer is not the first Black celebrity to explore the digital media industry. In February, actor and comedian Tim Reid announced the launch of “The Legacy of a People Network,” a streaming service focusing on the experiences of Black people, and in May, Byron Allen announced the launch of theGrio Black Podcast Network (TGBPN). Some years ago, in 2013, Sean “Diddy” Combs launched Revolt TV, the digital cable television network.
Samantha Sheppard, an associate professor of cinema and media studies at Cornell University, said it’s become somewhat of a growing trend for Black creatives to launch their own platforms. She noted that these platforms allow for creators to have more authentic opportunities to “show themselves and their work.”
“It’s definitely reminding content creators, and particularly Black content creators, that you can control — to a degree — your own means of production,” Sheppard said. “But also that… requires a certain skill level, both in terms of yourself as an on-screen or off-screen personality, but also a collaborator.”
In the video on KeyTV’s YouTube page, Palmer calls for more production designers, sound mixers, key grips and other production staff roles that she said grants creative power. Sheppard said because discrimination and racism is still a problem within Hollywood, Black-owned platforms like KeyTV are a much needed asset, as they create spaces for those who are historically underrepresented.
“It seems not just important, but imperative for Black creators to think about the ways in which they can share their creative aims and means,” Sheppard said. “So by creating your own platform, you begin to show people that you can still create content at a scale that matters to you and get your work out there.”