Lil’ Kim’s latest Instagram photo leaves many wondering: Is that really her?
On Sunday, Lil’ Kim took to Instagram to show off a new look, with blonde hair and a much lighter skin tone. It was one the most extreme examples of her changing appearance over the years.
It took no time for social media users to rip her apart.
“Lil Kim would rather be an ugly white woman than a pretty black one. God bless,” wrote another.
Lil Kim would rather be an ugly white woman than a pretty black one. God bless.
— pj (@pjhoody) April 24, 2016
“Can’t believe lil Kim did this to her self she gone get to heaven and Big gone walk past her,” joked one Twitter user.
Can't believe lil Kim did this to her self she gone get to heaven and Big gone walk past her
— DADITO CALDERONE (@TAXSTONE) April 25, 2016
Other fans took to her defense, citing beauty standards that make many women of color feel ugly in their natural skin.
“I feel bad for Lil Kim, honestly. Not everyone is strong enough to weather the hatred against them. Shamed before and shamed after. Sad.”
I feel bad for Lil Kim, honestly. Not everyone is strong enough to weather the hatred against them. Shamed before and shamed after. Sad.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) April 25, 2016
I'm not upset with #LilKim. I'm upset with all the white supremacists (white AND black) who made her feel ugly to begin with.
— Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr.) (@SonofBaldwin) April 25, 2016
Lil’ Kim, 41, faced rumors of plastic surgery in 2012 when she supposedly underwent surgery to lighten her skin and make her nose smaller. In a Newsweek interview in 2000, the Brooklyn native talked about her struggle to love herself.
“I have low self-esteem and I always have. 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.”
The rapper has since defended her right to do what she pleases with her body. In a world of Kim Kardashian’s and Kylie Jenner’s, Lil’ Kim certainly wouldn’t be the first celeb to alter her look.
But the loss of the Kimberly Jones we once knew feels a little more personal. Almost like an affront to the idea of “black is beautiful.”
No matter how much fans wish Lil’ Kim would’ve stayed the same, as the old saying goes, “What matters most is how you see yourself.”