Keke Palmer is going to be having a real kiki as host of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards from New York on Sunday.
The “Hustlers” actress-singer, 27, will preside over performances by the likes of Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, The Weeknd and Miley Cyrus in the first live major awards show of the coronavirus era.
But while she’s emerged as arguably the It girl of 2020, Palmer has much more of a résumé than you may realize. Here are 10 things you need to know about the 2020 VMAs host.
1. Her real name is Lauren Keyana Palmer.
She was given that name by her ex-actor parents after she was born in the Chicago suburb of Harvey, Illinois, on Aug. 26, 1993. So, yes, she just turned 27 and will no doubt continue the birthday celebration at the VMAs!
2. As a kid, she went toe to toe with Oscar nominees.
Palmer made her acting debut playing Queen Latifah’s niece in 2004’s “Barbershop 2: Back in Business.” Then she backed that up by appearing opposite Oscar nominees Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett (“What’s Love Got to Do With It”) as the title character in 2006’s “Akeelah and the Bee.”
3. She signed a recording contract when she was just 12.
Palmer inked a deal with Atlantic Records in 2005, and the next year her debut single, “All My Girlz,” was released on the “Akeelah and the Bee” soundtrack. Her debut album, “So Uncool,” dropped the following year, in 2007.
4. She was in the very first “Madea” movie.
Palmer had a major role as a foster child who Madea (Tyler Perry) takes under her wing in 2006’s “Madea’s Family Reunion.”
5. She appeared in four movies in 2012.
The star was a very busy bee in 2012, appearing in four movies: “Joyful Noise,” “Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom,” “Virgin Mary” and as a voice in “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” (And what exactly were you doing when you were 19?)
6. She was a TV star, too.
Palmer was a series regular on Ryan Murphy’s 2015-16 Fox series “Scream Queens” — a takeoff of iconic teen horror movie franchises. She later appeared in the MTV/VH1 series “Scream.” And in 2016, she also was in Fox’s musical production of “Grease: Live” as one of the Pink Ladies.
7. She’s a TV journalist, too.
In August 2019, she joined Michael Strahan and Sarah Haines for ABC’s since-canceled “Good Morning America” spinoff “GMA3: Strahan, Sara & Keke,” right before her career pole-danced to another level thanks to “Hustlers.” (Also: She’s a big fan of “Hustlers” co-star Jennifer Lopez.)
8. She doesn’t abide by any sexual labels.
“Am I straight? Am I gay? Am I bi? I’m making the rules for myself, and I don’t have to be stuck down to one label,” she told People magazine in 2015.
9. She didn’t know who Dick Cheney was.
In a viral Vanity Fair video, Palmer famously said “Sorry to this man” when she didn’t recognize the former Vice President after being shown a photo of him.
10. She’s down with the Black Lives Matter movement.
At a BLM protest in Los Angeles in June, Palmer showed fierce support of her people’s struggle when she was filmed telling National Guard members to “march beside us. Let the revolution be televised. March beside us and show us that you’re here for us.”
Watch all of this. pic.twitter.com/YHq0QhXrnw
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) June 2, 2020