Keke Palmer and Queen Latifah Make “Joyful Noise” With My Mari and Scholastic Kids Press

My girlpie Mari spent the last year working as a reporter for the Scholastic Kids Press—a gig she thoroughly enjoyed. During her year-long assignment, she covered Michelle Obama at a Let’s Move rally, wrote about an Atlanta-based non-profit that helps new immigrants, interviewed the head of the CDC about last year’s cholera outbreak in Haiti, and even got to travel to Disney to get an up close look at updates to the ESPN Wide World of Sports, where she got to meet former pro soccer player Mia Hamm. Mari’s final assignment was to hang out on the set of “Joyful Noise” with Keke Palmer and Queen Latifah—an opportunity that had her walking on Cloud 9 for a good week afterward. Keke was absolutely lovely to my girl, as was Latifah (which of course made me happy because we are talking about my baby, now). Mari story ran on the Scholastic Kids Press site recently, just as “Joyful Noise” made its way to the big screen. Here’s a sneak peek at her post:

Meeting Keke Palmer in person was just like meeting her character on the Nickelodeon hit television show, True Jackson. She is the same creative, funny, talkative character that she is on television!

I found out what Keke Palmer was like while visiting the set of the new movie Joyful Noise.Joyful Noise is a movie about a church choir that is put in jeopardy when budget cuts threaten to shut them down. Two women have to pair up and try to save their church choir so that it doesn’t shut down. The movie opens in theaters across the country on Friday.

Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah play G.G. Sparrow and Vi Rose Hill, the women who try to save the choir. G.G. has a nephew, Randy, played by Jeremy Jordan, who is very new to gospel music but learns to love it. Vi has two children — Olivia, played by Keke Palmer, and Walter, played by Dexter Darden.

Keke used her life experiences to help her in this movie. She became famous for her starring role in Akeelah and the Bee. Since then, she has been in many other starring roles and has made it in the singing business and fashion-designing world. But she grew up in church, and it was easy for her to become Olivia and act as a character who spends a lot of time around church choirs and gospel music.

“I’ve been singing in a choir since I was little,” Keke told me. “My mother was a choir director, and my dad was a preacher. It was very close to home and helped me in the movie.”

But even though she could relate to the characters and the world of Joyful Noise, she did feel a little homesick when her parents couldn’t make it to the set to see her. Luckily, Dolly Parton stepped in to make her feel better.

“She said that she would ask God to send my mother’s love through her,” Keke said. “Who says that? That made my heart shine!”

Click here to read the rest of Mari’s Scholastic Kids Press piece, “Keke Palmer Makes Joyful Noise.” (Please note: the comments section is disabled on the post at Scholastic, so if you want to leave a word of encouragement for my aspiring writer, please do feel free to leave one here at MyBrownBaby; they give her so much energy, you guys. They really do.)

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

5 Comments

  1. Congratulations on such a well written article. Great job. Inspirational to other young girls. Keep up the good work. I’m going to have my 7th grader read it when she gets home.

  2. Awesome piece, Mari! Keep up the great work. I will show your article to the middle school students I work with.

  3. Well written article, Mari! I love to see girls doing big things and showcasing their talents. (hat tip to Denene and Nick for encouraging your brown baby).

  4. You make us all very proud Mari. Well done on all your beautifully well written articles. Keep up the good work.

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