Keke Palmer Praises Zaila Avant-garde As 'The Real Life Akeelah'
The Louisiana native was also applauded by former president Barack Obama.
July 09, 2021 at 9:23 pm
Palmer, who played the role of an 11-year-old girl who wins the spelling bee, went to Instagram to congratulate the latest champion.
“THE REAL LIFE AKEELAH YOU GUYS!! The real life one. I’m so happy in my heart,” Palmer wrote. “A couple of weeks ago I sent in a video encouraging all the contestants and for this to happen just feels so spiritual! I am so happy. Major love to Doug Atchinson that allowed me to act a dream and thank God for letting me live to see it come to fruition. 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate...' Y’all know the rest.”
As Blavity previously reported, 14-year-old Avant-garde became the first Black American to win the contest and took the top prize of $50,000. She clinched the win by spelling “Murraya,” a word defined as “a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees (family Rutaceae) having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals” by Merriam-Webster.
The young prodigy also holds several Guinness world records for dribbling and has starred in a commercial with NBA superstar Stephen Curry. She aspires to play in the WNBA, coach in the NBA and join NASA.
"I kind of thought I would never be into spelling again, but I'm also happy that I'm going to make a clean break from it," Avant-garde said. "I can go out, like my Guinness world records, just leave it right there and walk off."