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Keke Palmer plays a woman enslaved on a plantation in 19th century Georgia in her new movie “Alice,” which she says is “not trauma porn.”

 

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“I felt like it spoke to history in the Black slave narrative in a way that was not so victimizing,” said Palmer, 28, of why she took on the role in PEOPLE’s Women Changing the World issue.

“There’s only one angle that we usually get the slave narrative from, and it’s usually from an oppressor standpoint,” she adds. “It does not empower the youth and it does not come with a sense of pride that I feel like I’ve always felt growing up when my parents talk to me about our history.”

 

 

“It’s not trauma porn,” she says. “It’s like, ‘This happened. Let’s show you how our people found hope.’ If a character like Alice was able to keep going and she actually endured slavery, then what do you think that you could do? That, to me, is very powerful and important for my generation to see because we are at that breaking point in our own way.”

Here’s the official film synopsis, per press release:

Alice (Keke Palmer) yearns for freedom as an enslaved person on a rural Georgia plantation. After a violent clash with its brutal and disturbed owner, Paul (Jonny Lee Miller), she flees through the neighboring woods and stumbles onto the unfamiliar sight of a highway, soon discovering the year is actually 1973. Rescued on the roadside by a disillusioned political activist named Frank (Common), Alice quickly comprehends the lies that have kept her in bondage and the promise of Black liberation. Inspired by true events, Alice is a modern empowerment story tracing Alice’s journey through the post-Civil Rights Era American South.

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In addition to Palmer, the movie also stars CommonJonny Lee MillerGaius CharlesAlicia WittNaTasha Yvette Williams.

“Alice” arrives in theaters on March 18. Check out the trailer above.

 

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