As someone who has admired Keke Palmer since the days when Disney Channel was one of my primary sources of entertainment, I am pretty excited for how her career has been going lately. From playing the title hero of the fact-based revenge thriller, Alice, to one of the leads of Jordan Peele’s latest thriller, Nope, as well as lending her voice to Pixar’s Toy Story spin-off, Lightyear, 2022 is really looking to be her year.
Of course, the 28-year-old actress and singer’s current success is really the result of nearly two decades of proving her talent to the world, starting when she was a child. As a way of applauding her hard work for paying off so well, let’s take a look back on some of the best Keke Palmer movies and TV shows you can find on streaming, staring with her first starring role in a theatrically released, feature-length film.
Akeelah And The Bee (Peacock Premium)
A naturally inquisitive 11-year-old girl from South Los Angeles (Keke Palmer) who's struggling to break free from her own insecurities and rough home life is given the chance to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, with help and much encouragement from a renowned English professor (Laurence Fishburne).
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2006, Keke Palmer shared the screen with Academy Award nominees Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett (one of her biggest acting inspirations) as the title role in Akeelah and the Bee - a heartwarming and inspiring family drama about academic learning and learning to be yourself from writer and director Doug Atchison.
A former cop (Samuel L. Jackson) who now makes a living cleaning up after crime scenes discovers that, for his most recent assignment, he was conned into unknowingly helping cover up a murder by removing the evidence, and begins to investigate the truth behind the matter himself.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2007, Keke Palmer shared the screen with another Academy Award nominated icon, Samuel L. Jackson, as his daughter, Rose, in Cleaner - a suspenseful mystery thriller from the perspective of the people involved in crime scene investigation whom you never really think about, from director Renny Harlin.
The Longshots (Vudu)
A washed up former high school football star (Ice Cube) discovers that his young niece (Keke Palmer) has skills with the pigskin and trains her into becoming the new quarterback for her local high school’s football team.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2008, Keke Palmer reunited with Ice Cube (one of the stars of her acting debut, Barbershop 2: Back in Business) in The Longshots - yet another inspirational family drama about discovering and accepting your talents, which is also based on the true story of female football prodigy Jasmine Plummer, from director Fred Durst (yes, the lead singer of Limp Bizkit).
Ice Age: Continental Drift And Ice Age: Collision Course (Disney+)
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2012, Keke Palmer reunited with another one of her Barbershop 2: Back in Business co-stars (Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah) as the voice of her daughter, a young mammoth named Peaches, in the fourth installment of the Ice Age movies (subtitled Continental Drift) before reprising the role in the 2016 follow-up, Ice Age: Collision Course.
Animal (Amazon Prime)
A group of five close-knit college students have their weekend getaway cruelly interrupted when they and others must hole up together as they begin to fall prey to a strange, bloodthirsty predator unlike anything they have ever seen before.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: After voicing an animal in Ice Age: Continental Drift, Keke Palmer and others (including Joey Lauren Adams and Elizabeth Gillies, to name few) faced off against a ferocious creature in the fun, 2014 creature feature, Animal, for which Palmer also performed an original song of the same name.
True Jackson, VP (Paramount+)
After her no-nonsense attitude and sense of style gets noticed by a renowned fashion mogul (Greg Proops of Whose Line Is It Anyway? fame), a 15-year-old girl (Keke Palmer) is impulsively offered the chance to be the new vice president of his company, Mad Style.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: Keke Palmer’s Animal co-star Elizabeth Gillies found fame on the cast of Victorious on Nickelodeon, which also aired the sitcom True Jackson, VP, starring Palmer in the title role, from 2008 to 2011.
Scream Queens (Hulu, IMDb TV)
The diverse and dysfunctional members of a prestigious college sorority become subjected to even more conflict when they begin to fall prey to a mysterious masked killer and everyone is a suspect.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: If Animal was not enough to make Keke Palmer a Scream Queen, then her role as Zayday Williams on the aptly titled, semi-anthological horror-comedy series, Scream Queens (from American Horror Story co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk) from 2015 to 2016 had to be more than enough.
Pimp (Amazon Rental)
With her pimp father gone, a young woman (Keke Palmer) is forced to take over his business in order to look after her mother (Aunjanue Ellis) and her girlfriend (Haley Ramm), but her ambitions to eventually get them out of the Bronx and on track toward a better life are complicated by a male pimp who is very competitive and very dangerous.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2018, Keke Palmer gave one of the most stunning performances of her career so far in Pimp - a gritty crime drama and love story from Academy Award nominated producer Lee Daniels and writer and director Christine Crokos.
A group of former employees at a high class New York City strip joint aspire to make a little more money off of their wealthier clients, typically male Wall Street brokers, than the unassuming customers may have intended to give.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2019, Keke Palmer reunited with Jennifer Lopez (her co-star from Ice Age: Continental Drift and Ice Age: Collision Course) and gave another stellar performance as an exotic dancer named Mercedes in the Hustlers cast in this acclaimed, stylish crime drama, which was also based on a true story, from writer and director Lorene Scafaria.
Human Resources (Netflix)
Emmy (Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant) is a love bug in an office full of other monsters - ranging from shame wizards to logic rocks, and many more - who receives her first assignment in a mother struggling to connect with her new infant child.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: In 2022, Keke Palmer would reprise her recurring role on Big Mouth as a former hate worm turned love bug named Rochelle, as a series regular in the Human Resources cast in this new spin-off from Netflix’s clever, animated coming-of-ages series that gives a larger voice to the metaphorical monsters who control our many emotions, thoughts, and actions.
The Proud Family: Louder And Prouder (Disney+)
Fourteen-year-old Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt), her overly-protective father, Oscar (Tommy Davidson), affectionate mother, Trudy (Paula Jai Parker), and outspoken grandmother, Suga Mama (former Family Matters cast member Jo Marie Payton), work together day by day to navigate life in modern times.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Keke Palmer: Also in 2022, Keke Palmer revisited her Disney Channel days by joining the voice cast for The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder - the Disney+ reboot of the hit animated family comedy - in the regular role of fellow 14-year-old Maya Lebowitz-Jenkins, who makes up for her age in unapologetic, and often one-sided, progressive views and staunch social activism.
In addition to acting and singing, Keke Palmer has also had an impressive hosting career, from MTV’s Singled Out revival in 2019 to its 2020 edition of the Video Music Awards. The talent can already do it all and should be around for many years to come.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.