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KeKe Palmer Teams up With McDonald's to Recognize Future Black Leaders

Keke Palmer (center) strikes a pose with the Future 22 leaders.
Keke Palmer continues to champion black business owners, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Just months after partnering with Amazon to support Black women business owners in honor of Women’s History Month, the 28-year-old singer and actress recently teamed up with McDonald's to recognize future Black leaders who are affecting change in their communities.

As the spokesperson for Future 22, a program designed to honor 22 visionaries who are “shattering ceilings and breaking barriers to create meaningful change in communities across the country” according to the company, Palmer surprised the group with checks for $10,000 apiece at last weekend’s ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans.

Palmer, who got her start as a child actress before transitioning into more mature roles and adding a burgeoning singing career to her portfolio, said in a statement that it was an honor to celebrate the leaders.

“They are creating bright futures for themselves and the next generation – and, really, all of us – and the excitement on their faces during the McDonald's surprise gave me joy," she said.

The recipients of the cash were varied and included everyone from a STEM educator who is leveling the playing field for Black and brown children in computer science to a financial literacy champion who is bridging the financial gap in inner cities, according to McDonald’s.

Palmer also participated in a fireside chat with the Future 22 leaders moderated by McDonald's Senior Director of Cultural Engagement, Elizabeth Campbell. She provided tips on staying true to one's mission, finding balance while changing the world and paving the way for others, among other topics.

"This year's Essence Fest theme was Black Joy, and we couldn't wait to celebrate all 22 leaders and bring them to New Orleans, in honor of their accomplishments," said Campbell of the event.”

She added, “It was more special than imagined, representing our commitment to feeding and fostering the communities we serve."

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