Keke Palmer showed off a new tattoo on the back of her neck in an instagram post in June 2016. The tattoo of Nubian pyramids and the words “Queen of Kush” represents her African ancestry as well as female empowerment. Keke explained the history of Kush on her instagram:
The Kingdom of Kush or Kush was an ancient African Nubian kingdom situated on the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile and River Atbara. (1050/1070 B.C. – 350 A.D.) but at the height of its power in about 700 B.C. the Kingdom of Kush controlled the entirety of Egypt itself with Kushite Pharaohs ruling. What I love most is it’s history’s of female rulers!! In school, we very rarely ever learn about female rules and never about African rulers. Amanirenas was one of the most famous Queens of Kush. She reigned from about 40 B.C.E. to 10 B.C.E. She is one of the most famous kandakes(means queen really but that was the title back then), because of her role leading Kushite armies against the Romans from in a war that lasted five years 😱 (27 BCE – 22 BCE). She was able to communicate a peace treaty that favoured the Kushites, granting them land and an exemption from future taxation. She has been described as brave, with one eye #MyAncestors P. S. “Egypt” is a Greek word meaning black, hence the rename when they invaded. 😳🤔😍✨👑 (shoutout to @threekingstattoo in Brooklyn ✍
She has been learning about the ancient history of Africa and wanted to pay tribute to the better chapters of her people’s history, since so much of African-American history is tragic. She told Hot 97:
[I’m] just trying to learn more about myself and learn about the history outside of America, my American history. I want to learn more about my ancestors over in Africa. I don’t want to always think about slavery as the only thing that happened to black folks. We actually have another history that we don’t really hear that much about where we were kings and queens. I want to hear more about that.
The tattoo is often misinterpreted since “kush” is also slang for marijuana. Keke knew this would happen and doesn’t mind because it gives her the opportunity to set people straight and teach them about the history of her people. She says she wants it to be “a conversation piece” and hopes that people who see her on the street will ask about it.