Niatia Kirkland, better known as Lil Mama, has come a long way from her “my lipgloss is poppin'” days. The rapper, actress, and model has been in the entertainment industry for over 12 years. Typically, artists who enter the industry at a young age, have a hard time shedding their teenage image. Slowly but surely she made the transition from rapper to a serious actress. With the shift in her career, came the shift in her image. Lil Mama showed off her acting chops, struck a pose for the magazine covers, and hosted events all over the United States. Still, with all of her accolades, social media seems to reduce her to a meme.
Let’s rewind some. Life in the spotlight comes with growing pains that have to be experienced in the public eye. Lil Mama has had to apologize and defend the time she enthusiastically joined Jay-Z and Alicia Keys on stage during their performance of “Welcome to New York.” What was a teachable experience for her, has become a joke for others. Let’s not forget the very moment social media realized Lil Mama and Shad Moss (Bow Wow) had a striking resemblance. Approximately 70% of the posts about her on pages like The Shade Room and Baller Alert, would be jokes about her looking like Bow Wow.
Lil Mama has one of the best glow up’s I’ve ever seen. This woman is undeniably gorgeous and extremely talented. Not only has she made a name for herself as an actress, but she has also become a woman to watch when it comes to fashion. Her most recent photo shoot shows off that she should be signed to one of the top modeling agencies as well. What gives?! Celebrity stylist Mickey Freeman has worked with her on several shoots and recalls her being a jack of all trades. “I was very inspired by the many hats she wears. The artist, the actress, the entrepreneur, the fashion enthusiast, and model, who stands alone. Her Harlem roots have become her armor, stoic and unimpressed by the facade of fame, yet not opposed to embracing her “inner stellar”. Her presence in music and fashion cross-pollinate one another. The chic yet sexy fashion looks that I select for her hide her physical discipline, her unwavering sense of self, and the visceral instinct that she is where she belongs,” Mickey exclusively told MadamNoire writer, Marsha B.
Lil Mama ain’t so little no more! As she continues to build her brand, she’s shown just how resilient she is to the scrutiny of social media. We are living in a time where our opinions can be left under an Instagram post with no regards to how we’re making other people feel. Although we have witnessed Lil Mama’s glow up, when will she receive the credit she is due? When will we stop reducing her to a meme or reminding her of one incident that happened years ago? This woman is a complete force to be reckoned with and it deserves to be recognized.