Keke Palmer-Queen Latifah

*Keke Palmer is a multi-talented actress, singer, songwriter and talk show host who made her screen debut at the age of 10 in Barbershop 2 before landing a breakout role a couple of years later as the title character in Akeelah and the Bee. The emerging ingenue has since embarked on an enviable showbiz career in film, on TV and in music while also finding time to give back to the community.

By contrast Oscar-nominee Queen Latifah (for Chicago) started out as a hip-hop artist before adding acting to her repertoire. She’s also proved to be a popular spokesperson for everything from Jenny Craig to Pizza Hut to Cover Girl cosmetics.

Here, the two talk about Brotherly Love, a hip-hop driven drama starring Keke which was produced by Latifah.

Robertson Treatment: Queen, With all that you’ve accomplished, was it still difficult for you to get this project green-lit?

Queen Latifah: Well, it wasn’t hard to get it green-lit, because we greenlit it. [Laughs] It’s easy when you’re the green-lighter. Really, it was more about lining up the financing. It always comeback to the dollars and cents, and finding the money to be able to fund the project and make it happen. That’s what we went on immediately, and I’m fortunate to work with a tiger who doesn’t rest until it all happens. He and I really jumped in on it until and worked with some other partners to help create the finances, and they came through for us. So, we all put it together, collectively, and made it happen.

RT: Keke, Have you felt a lot of pressure transitioning from a child star into a woman in Hollywood?

Keke Palmer: I definitely, at times, felt the pressures of life similar to the pressures anyone would feel growing up. The only difference was that maybe more people were aware of mine. But, if anything, I changed the pressure from negative to positive. So, instead of thinking everybody wanted to see me fail, I decided everybody wanted to see me win, since I wanted to see myself win. I’m glad and appreciate having people on my team who are watching and looking out for me. Let me continue to make them proud and continue to give away the gift that was given to me.

RT: Keke, how did you prepare to play Jackie?

KP: I thought it was really awesome that I got a chance to be in a movie being made right in Philadelphia. Being around a lot of kids, walking around the streets of Overbrook and actually getting to know the neighborhood helped give me an idea of what their reality was like. It was nice to discover that it wasn’t that much different from where I grew up. And then I also got to spend time with the rest of the cast, because this was an independent film. That meant we had so much more creative control and creative liberties, as well as a lot of time to spend with one another while we were trying to get everything going. I think the chemistry among the cast is what really makes the film feel so good to me. We got to work with each other long enough to get a feel for each other and that really made the characters come to life.

RT: What message do you want people to take away Brotherly Love?

KP: I want them to get whatever they honestly get from it. I don’t want to tell them what they should be receiving from it, ‘cause that would kill the experience. But what I took away from the film was the importance of choices. Sometimes, when you grow up in one of these poverty-stricken neighborhoods where the educational system isn’t the best, you don’t realize that you have any choices. Often, kids don’t appreciate the choices available, as if it’s either the street or nothing. I want them to understand that reality is what’s relative to you, and that you can make choices that allow you to create a new reality for yourself.

 RT: Latifah, do you have any other biopics planned?

 QL: There are actually a couple floating around, but the scripts aren’t quite where they need to be for me to pull the trigger on them yet. And I’m working on three scripts that are really close to me featuring three completely different characters from totally different time periods. So, I’m going to have a lot of fun once I decide which one’s going to go first. And I can’t wait! [Chuckles]

RT: What advice do you have to offer young girls hoping to emulate your success? 

KP: To be true to your heart, and if you’re passionate about your dream, work towards it but don’t allow your idea of how you think it should manifest prevent what’s actually unfolding from happening. You know what I mean? Be present in the moment and allow yourself to be guided by it by God. Allow Him to guide you and just embrace every situation, good or bad, since you’re experiencing it because you’re meant to go through it.

AUTOMOTIVE SPIN

2015 Acura RDX AWD TECH

Acura scores a winner with its entry into the compact luxury market. With both exterior and interior features that will appeal to the upwardly mobile, this ride offers the perfect combination of attractive styling and performance that should earn it much kudos from road warriors. I took this ride out for a spin recently and here is my report.

Wow Factor: The RDX has all of the right elements for success – great appearance, solid performance and affordably price. It’s the kind of ride that car buyers will appreciate not only for its intrinsic value, but also for the luxury vibe that it exudes.

Ride: Equipped with a 3.5 liter V 6 engine the RDX offers great power to manage big city and highway road conditions. The ride also benefits from a solid chassis and responsive transmission that will provide drivers with great manageability on the road.

Comfort: Like its cousin, the Honda CR-V is very spacious, offering adequate leg room for both drivers and passengers. Its rear interior is well laid-out in a way that can comfortably accommodate backseat passengers and modest loads. The ultimate plus with the RDX is a body design feature called Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) m that absorbs energy from a collision. Actually that’s a big plus!

Spin Control: With its great looks, solid fuel-economy and performance, the RDX is a good investment that will appeal to a variety of demos. With prices starting in the low 40s, I predict that this is a ride you will be seeing plenty of out on the road.

Grade: B+

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