The Akeelah and the Bee star, who is playing Marty in Sunday’s live performance, pointed out the historical significance behind her role in an Instagram post. “I feel as if I have waited my entire life for a moment like this,” she wrote. “There has never been an African American in Grease and while I hate that that's something to be pointed out, it is! My little brother and sister think differently growing up seeing me do something like this! They will not know it to be any other way in their 14yrs of living! That is REAL!”
Palmer said she was inspired when she was younger by Brandy, who played a black Cinderella in 1997. “Even if you are not an African American, you will be the first at whatever YOUR dreams are because they are yours. So whether you are an African American, or a female or whatever, if you can not relate to ANYONE in our show at face value. Relate to the fact that this is the first time anything like this has been done and it's only being done because we all believed!”
Grease: Live airs beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Fox.