Lil’ Kim and Society’s Problem With Black Skin


During my youth, a female rapper by the name of Lil’ Kim emerged into the mainstream during the mid to latter 1990’s. When I heard her spit her rhymes, I admittedly was stunned, but in a good way. Her lyrics were raunchy, in-your-face, unapologetic and downright hardcore. And she seemed to give no fucks about what critics were saying. Kim propelled a new era not only for female MC’s, but for the whole hip hop and rap game altogether by not shying away from censorship or living up to male standards as to how women, especially black female artists, should conduct themselves within a patriarchal music business.

But something dark happened.

Over the years, people have noticed that Kim’s facial appearance was changing. She looked less and less like she did since her first videos came out. Not to sound funny – because it isn’t – but Kim started look more cartoonish and less human. Some people joked about it while others expressed disbelief.

Recently, a set of pictures of a woman’s face have been trending on social media. The lady appeared white at first glance. When I saw them, I didn’t know who it was. The captioned at the top read that it was Lil Kim. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was some internet joke. It looked nothing like her.

I came to find out that it was her! That white-looking woman is the Queen Bee herself!

Yes. Something happened. Something we already know. And the proof is as plain as the nose on her reconstructed face.

Like Zeba Blay said in her article, Racism, Colorism, Sexism, Misogyny, Abuse…

Kim expressed her self-esteem issues and dealing with men who treated her poorly as seen in an article in Newsweek by Allison Samuels:

Even before her parents divorced, when she was 8, she suffered her father’s disapproval. “It was like I could do nothing right,” she says. “Everything about me was wrong–my hair, my clothes, just me…All my life, men have told me I wasn’t pretty enough–even the men I was dating. And I’d be like, ‘Well, why are you with me, then?’ ” She winces. “It’s always been men putting me down just like my dad. To this day when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says…

I have low self-esteem and I always have,” she says. “Guys always cheated on me with women who were European-looking. You know, the long-hair type. Really beautiful women that left me thinking, ‘How I can I compete with that?’ Being a regular black girl wasn’t good enough.” And the implants? “That surgery was the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life,” says Kim. “But people made such a big deal about it. White women get them every day. It was to make me look the way I wanted to look. It’s my body.”

It’s never our place as men to tell women what to do with their bodies. That’s why I will not stand on a soapbox and lecture readers on what Kim should’ve done or not done with her body. Why? Because that’s what happened to her. That is part of the problem.

Throughout history, society produced this standard of beauty, power and acceptability that’s almost exclusively Eurocentric with white skin being the main – if not only – trait. It’s everywhere! Even God is seen as white by damn near everyone, including people of color!

Though disappointing as it is, it’s no surprise that there are people of color who despise their own people or themselves due to the opposite side of the same propaganda machine. While whiteness is seen as superior, beautiful and normal, blackness is seen as inferior, ugly and abnormal.

Black folks have to deal with this all day, everyday for the rest of their lives. We adapt by accepting it or fighting it. Either way, it’s almost pure hell living in a white man’s heaven.

We shouldn’t berate Lil’ Kim for changing her looks. She’s a human being that’s mirroring society’s unyielding disrespect and abuse of people of color, especially black women.


5 thoughts on “Lil’ Kim and Society’s Problem With Black Skin

  1. No, I don’t condemn her for what she’s done because I’ve been in that place of not feeling like you will ever measure up to even the most basic beauty standards. In order for the beauty industry to exist in the first place, you have to convince women that everything is wrong with them anyway. It’s so much worse when the only women spoken to about it are white. Black women aren’t even up for consideration, and the message of that is, no matter what we do, we will never be beautiful.

    I handled things differently than Kim did, but I’ve still been there. I handled it by giving up. What’ would be the point? What difference would it make? I withdrew and didn’t form close relationships with men. I told myself it was the only way I could hold onto to the little bit of self worth I possessed. Other women do the exact opposite of what I did, moving from guy to guy, trying to find their worth.

    All people just want to know they’re worth something. Everyone just wants to be loved.

    Most black women have been in that place, and I’m not even very dark. I’m just a medium shade of brown. Lord help you if you don’t pass the paper bag test. You will catch hell.

    One of the first things black women learn is, how little we are worth to the rest of the world, and sometimes our own people. The whole world is giving us the message, all day, every day, that we are not loved, we can’t be loved and we aren’t even capable of love. (It’s the reason why I have such a hatred for Tommy Sotomayor. He’s basically the guy walks up and who kicks a person when they’re already bleeding out.)

  2. She had it all once upon time even without the surgery but chased after Biggie and others when it wasn’t happening. She’s extremely petite and was that working girl that never quite got the man she wanted.

  3. Well boo damn hoo! Sorry but Kim gets NO sympathy from me. When Michael’s skin got lighter and his face got butchered up many black and white folks made fun of him even when it was none of their damn business. But now I should shed tears for Kim? Ain’t gonna happen, she is an adult who knew what she was doing and self-hate is one thing but placating it is another.

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