Keke Palmer Takes on the National Guard: “Sometimes Going Against Authority Is the Only Remedy for Change”

With an impassioned speech, the actress and daytime host convinced a group of guardsmen to take a knee during a protest Tuesday.
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 05: Keke Palmer attends Refinery29 Presents 29Rooms New York: Expand Your Reality Experience 2019 on December 05, 2019 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Refinery29's 29Rooms)

It takes courage to calmly confront National Guardsmen amid a Black Lives Matter protest, and actress/host Keke Palmer, 26, showed that she has strength and leadership in spades.

What We Know:

  • The Strahan, Sara and Keke host was a part of a large gathering in Hollywood on June 2, and the area around Hollywood and Highland Boulevard had already been occupied by armed guardsmen and their military vehicles. But rather than call out their presence, Keke asked them to join her group during their march. She even got the men in full camo uniforms to take a knee on the street along with her in solidarity.

  • The protest in Hollywood was just one of many that occurred all over the U.S. on Tuesday following the agonizing police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Keke was seen in a video talking to the guardsmen and bringing up President Donald Trump’s alarming May 28 Twitter message, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” upon activating the National Guard.

“You have a president who is talking about the second amendment, saying to use it against the people who are protesting. This is the message that we are seeing. I do not know if you are on social media, because the news does not tell you everything. But you have to pay attention to what is going on. We have a president who is trying to incite a race war. We have people here that need your help. This is when y’all stand together with the community, with society, to stop the governmental oppression. Period. We need you, so march with us.”

  • “We need you. March beside us. March beside us. Let the revolution be televised. We will start marching and you march with us. Please,” Keke pleaded with the men. The crowd around her started chanting “March with us!” The squad’s leader told the former Scream Queens actress that they could not leave their designated post, but that they would march down the length of the street with the protesters. She kept on persisting, but he said they could not leave, as they were assigned to protect the nearby businesses.
  • Ultimately, they did not march with the protesters, but they did tell Palmer that they supported her aims before eventually kneeling. Other protesters cheered, but Palmer was not especially impressed. “I don’t know,” she said. “It ain’t enough.”



  • “To those that may not be looking close enough, all they will see is looting, or people who don’t really care about the movement, or anarchy without a movement,” Keke added. “But what I see is a society responding to the oppressor about how the oppressor has responded to us.”

We applaud Keke for the bravery it took to stand up to the National Guard officers, in uniform and holding rifles, and demand change. Even if the outcome was not the preferred one, it is starting powerful conversations around the world.




Dominique Browder is a Digital Content Creator for UnmutedCo. Dominique is creating news content for Black News Alerts website, social media and newsletter. She enjoys the freedom and loose structure at UnmutedCo and loves how she is able to gain a more hands-on experience. When she is not writing and researching content, Dominique lends her skills to empowering women.