Why Keke Palmer's Case Against Trey Songz Matters

Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty.
Keke Palmer is taking Trey Songz to task, and possibly to court, in the aftermath of being included in one of his music videos without her permission. Palmer already publicly blasted the singer that she once considered a friend on Instagram. According to her, she showed up to a party and had to repeatedly refuse requests to appear in Trey’s music video. She felt so much pressure and “sexual intimidation” from Trey and his team that she resorted to hiding in a closet while she waited for an Uber to pick her up.

During an appearance on Wednesday’s Larry King Now, Palmer went into further details about what happened and why she plans on taking legal action. She made it clear that it’s not about “this one guy” and “what he did.” Instead Palmer wants to make a larger point about “You can’t just do stuff to people and it’s alright. No matter who you are.”

Even though the video has been removed, Palmer definitely has a strong case, and an even stronger point.

While many of her fans have reached out in support of Palmer, there are others still who are accusing her of being dramatic, seeking publicity, or not handling herself appropriately.
Photo: Instagram @kekepalmer
Photo: Instagram @kekepalmer

I personally think that our Kardashian kulture has us hurling the word “publicity stunt” around a little too frequently. Sure, a little drama can drum up some interest in a reality show or personality [cough… Rob & Chyna… cough]. But are we leaving room for people to be honest about their experiences in their careers? As an entertainer, an appearance in a music video is always a business decision. By using her “likeness” without her permission, Trey compromised Palmer's brand. Because the video was made public, it makes sense that she also addressed it publicly. And I can’t help but cosign Palmer’s assumption that if she was a male entertainer, her protests would have been honored.

This whole situation, and the public responses to them, make Palmer’s case so necessary. As long as we live in a culture that is inherently mistrustful of women’s claims that they have been taken advantage of (in their careers, in their relationships, in friendships, or in public), people will continue to think that the personal boundaries we set for ourselves are flexible. In the same way that our cultures often relies on the “stranger in the bushes” myth to discredit sexual assault survivors, we look for signs of excessive coercion or force in order to substantiate a woman’s claim that she has been violated, professionally or otherwise. We don’t have to be complacent in those narratives.


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