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September 28, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

Keke Palmer is one of the most talented human beings I’ve ever met.

When she was younger and we first crossed paths, she already was brimming with so much energy and power, so much humor, and so much light and professionalism. Then I got to meet her family and her siblings, and I immediately understood how she was already so remarkably together at such a young age: she was surrounded by true love and true caring.

Watching Keke evolve as a young woman has been a joy. She is the epitome of grace, poise, and honesty. To watch her grow as an artist, taking on a range of challenging roles—­including her stunning performances in Akeelah and the Bee, Pimp, and the critically acclaimed 2022 blockbuster Nope—has been inspiring to me as a fellow actor. Not to mention, the girl can sing! But then again, this young champion has been inspiring adults for many, many years.

Keke is the future, and I can’t wait to see the things that she will do as she continues on her journey.

Queen Latifah is a Grammy-­winning musician and Oscar-­nominated actor

Photograph by AB+DM for TIME

Buy a print of the Keke Palmer TIME100 Next cover

Styled by Wayman Bannerman + Micah McDonald; Hair by Ricardo Roberts; Make-up by Jordana David

Set Design by Winston Studios

 

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