PARK MANOR — Actress/singer Keke Palmer brought her infectious positive energy to the South Side this week as part of an AT&T campaign called #BelieveChicago.
On Tuesday, the “Star” actress visited her cousin, Tanisha Davis, at her hair salon, Heavenly Hands Salon, 401 E. 71st St. — the southeast corner of 71st and South Martin Luther King Dr. as part of the kickoff for the AT&T community initiative.
Upon walking in the door, Palmer was greeted by dozens of fans along with several members of her family. She recalled the days growing up when Davis would do her hair for free.
Now, seeing her cousin with her own salon, it “set my soul on fire,” she said.
As part of the #BelieveChicago campaign, Palmer said she wants to highlight the positive stories in Chicago and encourage people to focus on the positive in their lives in both good and bad times.
“I really want people to look at their glass half full instead of half empty and that there’s other things you can focus on to shift your reality,” said Palmer.
Palmer said she wants to be a relatable figure to young people so that they may too believe their goals are attainable.
“It’s always been about for me as a celebrity to make sure to take away the idea that I’m an idol or something unreachable so the more I’m with my people or touch my people I think it helps them to realize that they and me are the same,” said Palmer. “Nothing separates us. I’m not special. I just believe.”
Tiffany Johnson, a faithful customer to Heavenly Hands and former neighborhood resident, discovered the salon when she was searching for a place close to home to get her hair done. Now, although she no longer lives in the community, she still travels to Heavenly Hands at least every two weeks. She said Palmer’s visit will bring the right kind of attention to the neighborhood.
“It’s a wonderful feeling [for Keke Palmer to visit] because when people think of 71st they think of violence but they don’t see all the parents and families that’s out here trying to make better lives for their children,” said Johnson.
Palmer recently launched her own music label, Big Boss Entertainment. She performed her latest song “BOSSY” with an exclusive performance at AT&T’s flagship location at 600 N. Michigan Ave.
“What I am doing with AT&T and with their #BelieveChicago program it’s all about empowering the community to continue to get out there and hustle, to do your thing, and to be a boss in whatever that may be,” said Palmer.
Angela Burgin, director of marketing with AT&T, said by launching #BelieveChicago AT&T hopes to connect with communities like Englewood, Garfield Park and New City, among others. Customers within the salon received complimentary styles.
“We want people to know that we love this community and we want to make sure this community remains connected and that we want to be a part of the fabric of this community,” said Burgin. “We want to make sure the community remains connected and that is what AT&T is all about. We’re working on some action pillars that include education. AT&T does a lot for educational initiatives so we want to make sure we are creating those opportunities for students in the Chicago marketplace.”