Keke Palmer has held quite a few titles in her 20-year-long career: actor, singer, television personality and now, media mogul.
The actor sat down with hosts on The View on Monday for a special Juneteenth episode honoring those in the Black community who are making an impact – “and of course, you had to be here,” said host Sunny Hostin to Palmer.
Palmer founded a digital entertainment network for BIPOC creators called KeyTV in November, and since then it has built up a following of nearly 790,000 subscribers on Youtube. She told hosts that the network was partially inspired by Awesomeness TV, a Gen Z-focused digital entertainment network from Kenan & Kel writer Brian Robbins.
“I thought, we need something like this for the young people of color,” she said. “How can we also democratize the industry for them and show them another way to get through the doors?”
The network is home to original series developed, shot and produced primarily by young, Black creators. In the unscripted series “Dear Keke,” Palmer listens to voicemails from viewers and answers with “real, down-to-earth, and hilarious advice.” Another series, “Sportsfan,” is a scripted family sitcom filmed entirely on iPhones.
But the crown jewel of the network is Palmer’s own directorial debut, Big Boss. The short film, which accompanies an album of the same name, documents the early years of Palmer’s career in a white, male-dominated entertainment industry.
“This movie is really a narrative that follows that period of me becoming a big boss,” she said. “I’ve gone through so many of those different trials and tribulations of getting to this point where it’s like, yeah, why would I make my acting separate from my singing? Why can’t I blend them both?”
She added that launching her own platform is what ultimately gave her her freedom as a creator. “Sometimes you’re waiting for somebody to open the door, but with digital, you could create a door.”
With KeyTV, she aims to help BIPOC showcase their talents, too. While she writes and directs some shows, she steps back into a more passive role for others. Her collaborative leadership style is partly inspired by director Jordan Peele, whose movie “Nope” she co-starred in earlier this year. “His level of collaboration is how it should be, “ she told hosts. “We’re meant to learn from each other.”
Host Whoopi Goldberg told the audience that she’s known of Palmer’s ambitions for some time. “I met Keke when she was a girl, and she was ready to eat the world – and she’s doing it.”