Atlantic Records Tries to Turn 14yr Actress Into Lil Kim
By bruce Banter playahata.com
Keke Palmer, is the 14 year old girl who played Akeelah, in the movie, Akeelah and the Bee. She and her mother Sharon have a huge problem with the upcoming record deal they signed with Atlantic Records in March of 2006. The problem is that the record label wants to market the 14 year old as a sexpot but she does not want that image.
Keke admits "From the very beginning Atlantic's A&R representative tried to get me to record inappropriate music, and my parents and I resisted."
Soon Keke and her mom became tired of fighting the negative images that the label kept trying to force on her, and they started looking for a management company that could deal with the situation. They settled on DAS Entertainment, a management company out of New York.(John Legend label. One problem, the label has been blocking the efforts!
Atlantic kept telling them that "Keke is "urban", and should be singing urban music". Keke's mom Sharon got her in touch with Mr. Edmonds
(Babyface) and he and Keke worked really well together and came up with a good commercial R&B song, but when it came time to pay for the song the label said no, he was "too expensive".
Paul Porter of www.Industryears.com says "Keke Palmer is the poster child for what's wrong with the music industry. Imagine being 12 year's old and Atlantic Records trying to mold Keke in the mold of Lil Kim or Foxy Brown."
The problem with the corporate hip hop machine is more than black and white. Unfortunately white America enjoys seeing and hearing about cultural misogyny, sex and violence. They honestly believe black America is the mix of lyrically challenged artist they promote.
The industry spin on Keke is nothing new. When you fail to promote or market a new artist they often fail. If Keke recorded a Jibb type "Chain Hang Low" or say a Plies "Shorty" BET and radio would be all over it. In my eyes Atlantic Records for now has simply passed on one of the most talented artist to come around in decades. Keke Palmer is no one hit wonder.
Who's behind this nonsense? Well the Senior A&R rep, Mike Caren, was the main antagonist, he kept on saying, " Keke is urban", so as long as they refused to record the raunchy tracks that he sent them, he refused to pay for the good clean music they brought him.At one point he even stopped Keke from recording by not paying for studio time.
Unfortunately, Das Entertainment the Management co was also ineffective in dealing with the label, they now began to codify the intent by repeating , " we will not promote her unless she records urban music".
This statement confused Keke and her mom.They are unsure of what is really being said indirectly.
Just for the record Keke is from the south side of Chicago. She began singing in her church's choir at the age of five, and she auditioned for a stage production of The Lion King at the age of nine. She grew up listening to Brandy, Aaliyah and TLC, so it was not like she was recording rock music! She was recording good music, with great beats, with good positive lyrics, her music is what all kids want to hear no matter where they live. She was blessed to have worked with some of the top producers in the business, some even cut their price down so that the label would not have an excuse not to pay for the songs.
The only thing she and her parents could figure out was that the subject matters that she chose to sing about were not as, " urban " and they would have preferred.
She is only 14 years old, and when she signed the deal she was only 12 years old, "what did they think she would be singing about?" Anyway, they kept their word and did very little to promote her cd. They refused to provide marketing reports, even when Das management kept asking.Then on Sept 14th they received the report, 4 days before her cd release date of Sept 18th.
Needless to say, it was not a good report, there was absolutely no plans to pay for a national announcement to tell kids that her cd was even being released! They kept their word and did not promote Keke because she was too clean, she refused to go " urban", and sing words that disrespect her and other young girls.
Keke's parents tried to promote the release in Chicago(her hometown), they called the press on their own, and managed to get on some morning shows, but that was only in Chicago. Her debut cd that she worked so hard on sold 1,325 copies, the label supposedly shipped 69,000 copies.
She was on a Disney Channel movie called, JUMP IN, that over 8 million households tuned in to watch it's debut, also the soundtrack to that movie debuted at 5 on Billboard. She was the only artist to have 2 songs on that soundtrack(she can sing). The Akeelah DVD sold 1.2 million copies and on that DVD she has a music video, so her audience, kids from 8-15 know who she is. She also sung the end title credit to the block-buster movie NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, which grossed over 270 million, her voice is the first voice you hear coming out of the movie. Fox tried to get Atlantic to go half on a music video for Keke, but Atlantic declined stating,
"that song is NOT "Keke's image" so we will not pay, of course they regretted that after the movie grossed so much! This was way back in February, 2007, this was a forshadowing of events to come!
Last week Keke's mother, Sharon, received a call from an employee of Atlantic Records, a confidential call off the record. The caller told her mother that the president of the label is so disappointed with low sales that she may pull Keke's cd off the shelf. The caller was so upset by this statement that she wanted Keke's parents to know what was being said behind closed doors. She was disappointed that the label refused to promote Keke, and now they are blaming her for poor sales!
Keke was informed that Congress was working to make the labels promote positive music, well her music is positive, but the label will not spend a dime to promote it because she refused to sing raunchy lyrics, and dares to call herself Pop/R&B and not urban / Hip-Hop.
Keke admits "I am only a kid, my parents would kill me if I sang stuff like that". Ask yourself would they want their daughters to sing negative music?
They knew her age when they signed her, they came to her after seeing Akeelah and the Bee, and begged her to sign, so why did they not think that she could really be like Akeelah, a good girl?
In closing, we are asking our audience, should Keke just let it go, accept the fact that this label will not promote this album. Or should they try to get the message out on their own?
Keke wants to try to get the message out because they worked extremely hard on this music and it is good, and the early reviews online are good.
G0 to www.kekepalmer.com and listen for yourself.
I think the kids would like it if they knew that it was out. Her parents are so tired of fighting the label. They are not rich and to launch their own promotions would cost a lot of money , so her parents don't want to go broke trying to push a cd that the label should be pushing, they go broke to break the album, and the label just becomes richer.