Lil Kim Needs Some Friends
Kim could use a new stylist too but let’s just stick to the friends part for now. It’s a shame Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj can’t get along because they really are two peas in a pod. As I look at old pics of how Nicki used to look in her pre-Pink Friday days in Queens, I’m reminded of how Kim looked when she first stepped on the scene with Biggie back in the day. Sadly, that hardcore Brooklyn girl is hardly even noticeable underneath the skin-bleached, plastic-surgery-abused woman we see before us now.
Last night, Kim made what many are considering to be a comeback performance during BET’s Rip the Runway at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, but pics of Kim on the red carpet had many asking why she didn’t bring her eyebrows with her for the appearance. Even more were wondering why her foundation was noticeably lighter than her skin tone which gotten progressively lighter over the years, and at the end of the day, the inquiries and criticisms boiled down to one question: Kim, is that really you?
Lil Kim has been having a full-blown identity crisis in front of the rap community for some years now. First the changes were subtle. A nose job here, a boob job there—it was all run of the mill “maintenance” most performers ascribe to once they’ve made it big. But Kim’s transformations haven’t just been about looking better, it’s clear she wants to look like an entirely different person—possibly one who isn’t even black.
I remember noticing the progression of lip injections, cheek implants, and nose jobs over the years; the longer, straighter weaves; and the less-ethnic features but I didn’t realize how deep her issues were until “Notorious” came out. Biggie’s mother, Viola Wallace, spoke out about Kim’s disappointment with Naturi Naughton portraying her in the movie, saying Kim wanted a Latina or an Asian woman to play her part and that she felt the character they chose was too dark “Because she’s a white woman trapped in a black woman’s body.”
Is that what this is really about? I can’t help but think about Michael Jackson when I look at Kim and how she’s likely one nose job away from the remaining cartilage in her nasal passages collapsing or how she hated the woman she used to see in the mirror so much that she thinks the way she looks now is somehow better. The stories both artist’s faces and bodies tell is undeniably similar, but hopefully the fate won’t be the same.
When you see someone who looks a mess, sometimes it makes you ask, why didn’t their friends tell them that’s not cute, or you think, they must not have any friends. Kim’s appearance over the past several years makes us ask the same. So often we talk about other black women succumbing to white ideals of beauty and we have one of the most blatant examples right before us and it seems to just be passed off as typical notorious K.I.M. But the transformation from hypersexual and eccentric to pale and plastic isn’t quite the same as wearing a pasty on your breast at an award show to get attention. This woman has serious issues going on and if she completely steps back into the spotlight as she prepares for a new album the pressure to compete with 20-somethings, like Nicki Minaj, and accept herself as she is is only going to get worse. This girl needs some friends around her if she’s truly going to make a comeback in 2012. As far as the makeup artists and the stylists? They’re just wrong.
What do you think about Kim’s transformation over the years? Do you think she has deep issues with her appearance or is she just succumbing to Hollywood pressure?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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