Keke Palmer talks viral moment with National Guard: 'We all need to come together'

"I was just really speaking from my heart," the singer and actress said of the experience.
/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Keke Palmer is speaking out about her encounter earlier this month with the National Guard at a Los Angeles protest that went viral.

The “Hustlers” star asked the men to leave their post and walk with protesters. While they declined the offer, they did agree to take a knee.

“I saw the National Guardsmen and they were blocking us from going further with the peaceful protest and I think in that moment I was kind of just like, I was weirded out a bit and kind of confused, I think from a genuine naïve place, being confused as to why, why there’s now this separation between us,” she told Jimmy Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Thursday night.

Palmer, 26, said she had been to other protests in her life, but noted this one had “a different energy” because of the quarantine that had been in place and people hadn’t been out in a long time.

She also told Kimmel it’s important to remember the common ground she shares with the guardsmen. “They’re human like I’m human. I know they have a job to do, but, I don’t know, I just felt like why they can’t be with us, marching with us especially now, I felt like even with what happened recently with General (Mark) Milley, I feel like there’s such a division being created in society right now from every angle, whether you’re in the military, whether you’re black, white, whatever, I just felt like we all need to come together,” she said.

“And I think I just was really overwhelmed and I didn’t know really what I was saying. I was just really speaking from my heart and how I was feeling and that was that.”

Palmer also said the interaction was a chance to make a powerful point.

"I felt like we had an opportunity in that moment to, we have the current administration making a point to make a statement about division,” she said. “I felt like let's just come together, let's be beyond that, let's be beyond what's happening.

"You know, it was a risk, I understand he has a job to do. But I think in my mind I was just thinking at this moment it's like, what if your job is telling you to do something you don't believe in? Like, I know you want to be out here with me. I know you want to walk. I know you want to walk side by side, so let's just do it."

Palmer said she even spoke with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden afterward.

“We had a conversation. I didn’t get to ask him everything I wanted to ask him, but it was good to talk and just to kind of hear what he's talking about and what he's saying right now,” she said.