entertainment/pop culture

What Was Wrong & Right About Keke Palmer’s Boyfriend

Keke Palmer’s boyfriend set Twitter on fire after publicly criticizing her outfit choice for an Usher concert, and doubling down on his take after it ignited a viral conversation.


In case you’re curious, this is the outfit in question.



As someone that loves to keep the people guessing, I felt compelled to write about this because I knew my readers wouldn’t be able to predict my perspective.


It’s no secret that I love a scandalous outfit. I love a snug silhouette, a plunging neckline, a not-so-covert cut out. 


But as much as I love an immodest ensemble, my opinions on this situation might surprise you.


I don’t think her boyfriend was wrong to object to her outfit choice, but I think the way he went about it was.


Arguing in public is tacky, period.


After my political views evolved and I began to vocalize my opinions, I’d get bird brained peer after bird brained peer taking to social media to publicly scold me, and even then, I remember thinking “if someone wanted to have a real conversation with me and understand where I was coming from, they wouldn’t be looking for an audience.”


And I was right. The fact that isn’t a loose high school acquaintance but the father of her child only makes it worse.


I don’t know what went on between Keke Palmer and her boyfriend prior to his tweets. I don’t know if they argued about it before the concert, or if she was as surprised as everyone else to see his criticism of her outfit. I don’t know if this was really about the outfit in the first place, or he was more upset by Usher’s serenade of her.


But what I do know is that the way he handled the situation signaled a greater lack of respect for their relationship than her outfit did.


Seriously, what did he think was going to happen? Did he think she was going to see his tweet, apologize to him, go home and change? And I don’t want to hit below the belt, but it feels relevant that she’s the breadwinner a million times over. Of course, that doesn’t mean he isn’t owed a voice in his relationship, but it puts his outburst in an even clearer (and more cringeworthy) perspective. This woman is paying his bills.


I firmly believe that couples should be a team, and generally speaking, the man should lead it, and financial standing doesn’t necessarily change that.


But publicly criticizing your partner isn’t leadership, and it isn’t teamwork. There’s a time and a place to express your disappointment or your disagreement with your significant other, and it isn’t on Twitter.


Maybe it was just a temporary lapse in judgment, but it came off as an impulsive emotional decision that ultimately made them both look silly and reduced their relationship to a meme.


People called him insecure for what he said, but to me, the issue wasn’t substance but delivery.


Hopping online to criticize your partner in front of strangers instead of directly addressing them reeks of immaturity and poor discernment. 


All that said, he’s entitled to his opinions on his girlfriend’s fashion, and it’s probably best for him and his relationship to voice them.


When you’re single, you can do what you want, and you don’t have to answer to anyone or get anyone else’s two cents. But everything comes at a cost. Freedom is often lonely, and commitment requires compromise. When you’re in a relationship, the cost of companionship is considering another person in everything you do. 


One of the most important qualities to me in a man is leadership, and I suspect that’s true for most women no matter what they tell themselves. 


And I think if you can trust a man to lead you when it really matters, you should be able to defer to him for things that don’t really seem to matter in the grand scheme of things.


I don’t think it’s about “letting a man control you” or whatever victim-of-the-patriarchy spin a feminist might put on it, but showing someone that their feelings are more important to you than a wardrobe change, even if you don’t agree with them or understand where they’re coming from.


And it’s a two way street. Women have all kinds of requests for the men in their lives, and on the surface they seem trivial. “Be home by this time.” “Check in with me once an hour.” “Unfollow these girls on Instagram.” And to a lot of men, it doesn’t make sense. I’ll be honest, to me it doesn’t even make sense. But they do it anyway, not because it’s rooted in logic or reason, but because they’re trying to love someone to the best of their ability, and meet them where they’re at, and show them that even if they don’t “get it,” they do care.


So much online discourse seems to boil down to angry ideologues seeing a situation for everything but what it is, looking for someone to blame for everything wrong in the world and in their lives, and this was no exception. But I think we’d be better off using Keke Palmer and her boyfriend’s Twitter debacle to figure out how we can be better to the people in our lives as opposed to using them to prove to ourselves what we already believe.



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