She bought a billboard to get Tyler Perry’s attention. Now she stars in his new show
Two years after purchasing a billboard in a last-ditch effort to capture the attention of mega-producer Tyler Perry, actor Racquel Palmer has finally landed her dream job.
On Monday, the “Night Of” alum sat down with TMZ to discuss her latest project, “All the Queen’s Men,” a BET+ series produced by Tyler Perry Studios and featuring Palmer (formerly known as Racquel Bailey) in a lead role.
The nightclub drama marks a career milestone for Palmer, who previously drew sharp criticism from Perry after buying a billboard in Atlanta in hopes of starring in one of his productions.
This isn’t the first time Palmer has collaborated with Perry. Before securing a key part in “All the Queen’s Men,” Palmer appeared in a handful of episodes of Perry’s “Sistas,” another BET series, which premiered in 2019.
“We’ve never spoke of the billboard,” Palmer, who recently developed an “actor-director” relationship with Perry while filming at his Atlanta production facility, told TMZ. “It’s just like it never happened.”
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In 2019, Perry publicly disapproved of Palmer’s billboard stunt on Instagram where he posted a lengthy statement discouraging others from following her example. In giant, all-caps letters, the sign read, “ATTENTION MR. PERRY ... RACQUEL [PALMER] IS YOUR NEXT LEADING LADY,” alongside Palmer’s headshot and contact info.
“This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows,” Perry wrote at the time. “Please DON’T DO THIS, SAVE YOUR MONEY!! This is the third time that someone has done this. PLEASE STOP! To audition is FREE!! I’m sure you can use that money for a better purpose.
“I love that you want to work with me, and I love that you invest in yourself. But when you do things like this it puts my team on high alert and makes me look at you sideways. I know the message that you want to send is a positive one, but this comes across as the opposite.”
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After making his point, the “Madea” franchise mastermind softened the lecture with some words of encouragement for Palmer, whose work he had already noticed by the time he spotted her skyward plea.
“Again, the best way to work for me is to AUDITION and it’s FREE! We post breakdowns all the time for actors. JUST COME AND AUDITION,” he continued.
“And by the way, you were great in THE NIGHT OF! It was my favorite show a couple years ago. I ALREADY SAW YOU!! So just audition and keep your money!! Again, I appreciate your effort, but that’s not the way to work for me. God bless you dreamer. I have no doubt you will make it one day!!”
It appears that day has arrived for Palmer, who stars as Blue, head of security, opposite Eva Marcille’s Marilyn “Madam” DeVille in “All the Queen’s Men,” which centers on a successful strip club manager and her trusted staff navigating the nightlife industry.
Tyler Perry was among the first major filmmakers to restart shooting amid the coronavirus outbreak. He followed rigorous health and safety measures at his Atlanta studio.
“It is hot. It is steamy ... and all about her scandalous dealings in between,” Palmer told TMZ this week. “And [my character picks up] any loose ends. I’m extremely loyal to Madam and anything that she needs to be done. So, I take care of the nasty stuff.”
Though things ended up working out for her, Palmer told TMZ she would not recommend the billboard method to her fellow performers.
“I wanted to be known for my talents, not my tactics,” she said. “I wanted to show my kids that I wasn’t going to give up on my dream. I was at a point where I wanted to. I didn’t want them to see me give up. I was just going for my last ride, so ... even if it didn’t work out, they could say, ‘Mommy went for it.’
“I’m in favor of always having faith in anything that you do,” she added. “As actors, we have to believe in ourselves. You have to believe in this industry. ... faith is all throughout for me.”
“All the Queen’s Men,” created by Christian Keyes, debuts Sept. 9 on BET+.
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