So you know how you start hearing about someone, and then a little more, and then you’re able to say to your friends or your mom, when she asks, “oh you know, she’s kind of the awkward one in teen movies” or etc, and people reconcile the name in their head with the image you present. 

I’ve talked about Keke Palmer here a few times before, and wondered why she’s not a proper household name. And I’ve realized the answer is because she has some marketing challenges. 

Palmer is currently on Scream Queens, a show that capitalizes on her acting chops and is a pop-culture buzz show (although maybe for not much longer).  But she doesn’t seem to be capitalizing on that. She also has a history of playing kind of wise innocents – Coral in Masters Of Sex and even Cinderella on Broadway.

But neither of those images is what she’s showing us in her new music video. It’s sultry R&B, it’s called I Don’t Belong To You, and it might as well be about anyone.  In it, a sexy and beautiful young woman discards her lounging peignoir – you know, like we all do – and goes home from one lover’s bed to change lingerie before going to another lover’s house except this one is – gasp! – a woman!

The video is beautifully shot. But it’s only nominally about the lyrics, telling someone they’re in a casual relationship and not to get attached, and the ‘twist’ at the end of the video feels like something that would have punctuated a video in 1996. Not to mention that she’s rich and wears lingerie, both of which also feel dated.

It’s unmemorable. The song’s gorgeous and already in my head, and she’s obviously beautiful and talented, but there’s nothing in any of it that makes me go ‘oh right, she’s the girl who….!’ 

I’m remiss in being behind on Scream Queens, but given that Palmer recently said she wasn't offended by its racial stereotypes, it’s not doing a lot to promote anything unique about Keke Palmer either. So until she settles on a message and a brand, Keke Palmer stay below the radar. It’s a shame, because it’s not for lack of talent. Let’s pick up this discussion in December, when she’s not the lead in ‘Grease’ – also not for lack of talent.