Fans were shocked and enraged when rapper, Lil Kim released pictures of a much lighter, blond haired woman on her Instagram account. Many of her fans didn’t recognize her because she didn’t even look like the same, beautiful, energetic and talented Black woman that burst on the Hip Hop scene in the 1990s. Unfortunately, Lil Kim’s transformation of her appearance from a beautiful, dark skin woman to a pale, blond haired woman is not hard to notice. Many people can make fun of her all they want but fail to realize how the negative effects of Colorism played a role in why Lil Kim chose to do what she did to her body.
Here are the Instagram pictures of her that caused an uproar among her fans
Here is what she looks like today
Here is the original Lil Kim prior to any skin bleaching and plastic surgery
It is a pity that she didn’t love her beautiful Black skin, full lips or natural hair. Lil Kim’s transformation into a pale skin, blond haired woman didn’t happen overnight. Her transformation took years of skin bleaching, plastic surgery and hair weaves to achieve. In the course of a decade or two, she went from a beautiful, Black woman to a White washed blond haired looking woman. Many people were scrutinizing and looking down on Lil Kim’s choice to radically change her appearance but fail to realize what really drove Lil Kim to do what she did to herself. Hence Lil Kim’s decision to change her appearance didn’t happen in a vaccum.
Unfortunately, many Black women have felt this way about their looks, one way or the other. Society promotes the Eurocentric standard of beauty as the blond hair, White skin, blue eyed, thin, able bodied woman while Black collective promotes the cafe au lait complected, wavy haired, curvy able bodied woman as the ideal of Black womanhood. Both of these ideals leave out the authentic, unambiguous, dark skin Black woman as a symbol of beauty, femininity and desirability. There are many people in our society that believe that women, that fit the standard of beauty are more beautiful than the women that don’t. Many dark skin Black women feel that their beauty is overlooked and not even acknowledged in society. That was why many Black women were escalated when Kenyan born actress, Lupita N’Yongo won an Oscar for her role in the movie, Ten Years A Slave and was named The Most Beautiful Woman in the World by a magazine in 2014. It seemed like the media was coming around and celebrating Black women’s natural beauty. Despite this, Black women lack adequate representation in the media and their beauty isn’t nearly as recognized as the beauty of White, Hispanic and Asian women in society.
Here is an image of the Kenyan born beauty, Lupita N’Yongo
In Lil Kim’s defense, she has dealt with low self esteem and self hatred for most of her life due to who she was around and what she had to deal with. It started with her own father telling her that she wasn’t as beautiful or good as other girls. Then she became a famous and successful rapper with the group, Junior M.A.F.I.A in 1995 with the release of their album, Conspiracy. The next year she released her debut Rap album, Hard Core and it was successful. She found herself dating men who told her that she wasn’t pretty or good enough and cheated on her with light skin and non Black women. One of these men was the rapper, Notorious B.I.G. Notorious B.I.G was a rapper that owned and helped produce the records of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Lil Kim and Biggie became close and began a tumultuous affair with each other. He was also one of the men that told her that she was ugly and would beat her up but she still loved him. Loved him so much that she felt betrayed when he married a light skin, R&B artist, Faith Evans. Unfortunately, Biggie was shot and killed in 1997 while preparing for a show in New York City. Worst of all, Lil Kim and Junior M.A.F.I.A were heartbroken by his death and felt frustrated without their mentor but for Lil Kim, this was the start of her radical facial and body transformation.
Here are pictures of Lil Kim and Biggie before his death in 1997.
Biggie and his wife, Faith Evans before he died.
It must have been mind boggling and a blow to Lil Kim that Biggie married Faith Evans. Faith Evans probably represented what Lil Kim wanted to look like: light skin, slim, blond hair and racially ambiguous looking. As her career progressed, so did her over the top hair weaves, blue eye contacts and and increasingly lighter skin and thinner nose. Hip Hop became less exclusive to darker skin, unambiguous women and started to represent light skin and non Black women exclusively. More Black women in the industry felt the pressure to conform to the light skin ideal promoted by the Hip Hop industry, Black media and society. Especially Lil Kim. Due to her feelings of self hatred and not feeling that her natural looks were enough, she went in and out of the surgeon’s office to achieve that ideal. However, Lil Kim’s transformation is just another symptom of the blatant colorism and shadism in the Black collective and wider society in general.
As many people want to criticize, disparage and scrutinize Lil Kim’s appearance, these same people refuse to get down to what caused her to do what she did. Our scrutinizing of her pain and aghast only further enables colorism and shadism and solve it. Thus it is up to us to solve the issue of colorism and shadism and teach young, Black girls to love their skin, know their history and love their heritage and love themselves.