As an actor, do you think games like The Sims innately speak to you—being able to step into someone else’s life?
I never thought about it but it totally makes sense. I’m an entertainer. I act. I perform. It doesn’t seem too far disconnected.
The Sims is all about world-building. Is KeyTV part of your world-building?
One hundred percent. I see myself very objectively. Not like I see myself as a Sims character, but in so many ways I see myself as planning toward things. I’m very disciplined. Once I make up my mind about something, I follow through and I figure out how to support it. As far as KeyTV is concerned, it’s something that I became serious about a year ago. I feel really happy to have gotten to the point of launching. I’m looking forward to continuing to build it. My community of fans that have always followed me—the Keke Palmer brand—I want to introduce them to something that can expand beyond just me personally.
It’s a battle for people’s attention these days. The marketplace is overcrowded. How does KeyTV cut through the noise?
So last year was when I filmed NopeI think. Did I film Nope last year? Time has all gone by so fast.
Our relationship to time is so weird now.
Time is so weird to me now because of Covid. It was after the height of Covid but we were still in the vibe of the pandemic, in terms of keeping masks on, but people were outside. It was summertime and I was filming Nope. Personally and career-wise, I was in a new place. I also started to think, OK, what can I do outside of myself? How can I bring something that doesn’t just solely depend on me?
Was it an attempt to do something where you weren’t at the center?
That’s the thing. As an entertainer, you’re constantly a workhorse—not that that’s bad—but everything really is ultimately dependent on you. When you think about creating generational wealth or community wealth you are trying to take whatever it is that you started or whatever it is that you have and expand it outwards. I thought that KeyTV could be its own voice in the sense of what I stand for, which is education, democratization, and entertainment.
I want to make [entertainment] feel more accessible to people in our community, specifically Black and brown people, people that maybe don’t have immediate resources and access to the industry. I want to bridge that gap.
KeyTV is about equity behind the camera as much as it is in front of it. Having worked in Hollywood for so long, were you not seeing that kind of inclusion on sets?
It would depend. Whenever I worked on a Tyler Perry set, yeah. When I did House of Pain or Madea’s Family Reunionit was always tons of Black people. And that was before it became a trendy thing to do. Now it’s become a thing. Back when I was 11, 12 years old, wasn’t nobody caring about employing anybody Black. Any time I stepped on a Tyler Perry production everybody was Black. That was the best thing about it. It was like being at a family reunion.