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Keke Palmer has come to the defense of her character Zayday Williams on the FOX satirical-horror mashup series, Scream Queens.

Speaking with BuzzFeed News, Palmer said that as an actress, she’s learned none of the offensive jokes are personal. The 22-year-old wants viewers to see that her character isn’t the typical one-dimensional sassy Black girl, despite the jokes used at her expense.

Scream Queens, which depicts a college campus plagued by a serial killer, has caught flack for its heavy use of racial stereotypes.

Palmer tells BuzzFeed News

“I definitely did think about some of the jokes. Ultimately as an actor, you have to try to find a way to not be personal, but really look at the artwork for what it is trying to show. Scream Queens is a satire, and it’s meant to exaggerate the thoughts and desires of the millennial today, as well as have fun in totality.

Developed by Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story), the show’s pilot episode contained jokes critiquing Zayday’s complexion. There’s also a moment when Chanel Oberlin (played by Emma Roberts) calls her a “hoodrat.”

BuzzFeed News points out: 

In the pilot, Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), Kappa Kappa Tau’s nightmare of a sorority president, refers to Zayday as a “hoodrat” and references her dark skin by saying, “I’m gonna go to my room for a sec to fetch some white eyeliner so I can write legibly here on Zayday.” (Chanel also calls KKT’s maid “white mammy” and asks her to quote Butterfly McQueen, Scarlett O’Hara’s maid in Gone With the Wind, “because she’s essentially a house slave.”)

Palmer’s character is the only Black pledge at the White sorority. The former child star says all of the characters are exaggerated and maintains she is willing to consult with Murphy if she believes a joke goes too far.

“Being the only African-American female that’s part of the sorority, I think as an actor, it’s up to me to be honest about what I am comfortable with and what I’m not comfortable with. I get to work with people every day that respect my opinion just as much as they respect everybody else’s. That plays a big part in why I was not offended by any of that.”

Zayday, Palmer says, was inspired by Moesha — singer Brandy’s hit ’90s show. She hopes Murphy will further develop her into a more complex character, and wants to defy the stereotype of Black characters dying early in horror films.

See Palmer tackle her character on the series, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FOX. Do you agree with her stance on stereotypes?

SOURCE: BuzzFeed News | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform 

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