Why Can Lil Kim Be BFFs With Faith Evans But Still Can’t Stand Naturi Naughton? We Have An Idea Why.
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Despite the fact that Lil Kim was engaged in an affair with the Notorious B.I.G. (the story is, she was messing with him first) during Faith Evans’s marriage to the late rapper, Evans has managed to make peace with the pint-sized rapper. I’m talking about so much peace that she even introduced the MC during the VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens show this week (to much commotion from the Twitterverse). As Evans would go on to say to X17, “the past is the past.”
But one person who reportedly didn’t get to come anywhere near the Queen B and didn’t get “the past is the past” treatment that same evening was Naturi Naughton. The Power actress played Lil Kim in the biopic Notorious, and Kim was none too happy about it. Among her issues with Naughton’s portrayal and the film as a whole included her allegations that the singer turned actress never bothered to reach out to her before accepting the role. As Kim said during an interview with Big Boy’s Neighborhood years ago, “How can you write a movie about someone’s life and not even talk to them?” She continued, in reference to Naughton: “She never made an initiative to even try to come to me and say, ‘Well look Kim, I need your blessing.'”
It’s a grudge that Kim has held and continues to hold. As the story goes, according to The YBF, Naughton told Wendy Williams that behind the scenes during Monday night’s Hip Hop Honors celebration, Kim went out of her way to keep the actress as far away from her as possible. When Williams tried to bring up the topic during a game live on air, asking Naughton to speak on running into the rapper, Naughton replied, “You know what? It’s not even worth my energy. Let’s just go ahead. No words. No words.”
When I heard that Naughton was still receiving the cold shoulder from Kim, I raised an eyebrow. I get that she didn’t appreciate the young star playing her in the biopic, but you can be BFFs with Faith Evans and not let that hurt go with Naughton? I couldn’t help but wonder if her issues with the actress were deeper than just “You didn’t call me before playing me in a movie.” Because if we’re being honest, Naughton did a pretty great job in an otherwise so-so film.
If you’ll recall, during Kim’s open criticism of the project, it was the Notorious B.I.G.’s mother, Voletta Wallace, who would claim that Kim’s biggest reason for disliking her portrayal was because Naughton is dark skinned. As Wallace told Hip Hop Weekly, “She felt the character we chose for her was too dark. Do you know why the character was too dark for her? Because she’s a white woman trapped in a black woman’s body, and you can tell the world I said it, because those are Lil Kim’s words. She should be ashamed of herself.”
She continued: “Tell Lil Kim to go find herself, go drink a cup of green tea and get a life! This movie is not about Lil Kim. She felt we used her character to promote [but] this movie is about my son…Lil’ Kim needs to go sit down.”
And there were rumors at the time the movie came out that Kim wanted someone else to play her. Christina Milian’s name even came up, though the rapper would come out and say she didn’t vouch for Milian, but rather, a more known actress with more “sexiness” and “sophistication” than Naughton had to offer.
“I wasn’t even able to choose who I wanted to portray me in this movie,” she said. “I would have never picked Naturi, she doesn’t have a Lil Kim aura at all! She looks nothing like I looked back then. We have NO similarities. Watching her on-screen was so ‘dreadful’ as Simon Cowell would say. She is tasteless and talentless.”
Could Kim’s outright disdain for the actress to this day be because of a so-called “dreadful” job done when it comes to playing her? Or does it have a lot more to do with Kim’s issues with the way Naughton looks? Does her appearance remind Kim of a time when she actually looked similar to the actress? Does Naughton remind Kim of what she used to look like when she was struggling with accepting her beauty in the public eye due to low self-esteem, and trying to keep up a relationship with a man who went off and married someone else? Honestly, if you put a picture of the two women, early Kim and current Naturi Naughton side by side, the difference in looks is not that great. Do a Google image search and you’ll find that the pictures speak for themselves.
While Kim may be right to be upset if Naughton never tried to reach out to her for the movie, at this point, making an effort to keep the girl as far away from her at possible at industry events, to me, speaks to an issue much deeper: Kim’s own problems with the skin she was born in. If anything, Naughton isn’t her sworn enemy, but rather, a reminder of Kim’s past and present belief that “Being a regular Black girl wasn’t enough.” A reminder of everything she’s been trying to run from, with the help of plastic surgeons and more, for years. And while Kim has changed her looks time and again, Naughton has managed to embrace her natural look and be successful — even when those behind her former music group 3LW told her what people in Kim’s life used to tell her: that her darker skin was holding her back.
Granted, Kim is grown and can ignore whoever she wants. But the “tasteless and talentless” actress she’s been downing since 2009 is the star of a popular television show and sharing a message that Kim felt she also had to ignore: “I just try to tell other black women — not just in Hollywood, just in general – you don’t have to compromise or change yourself to try fit into whatever mold is popular. And I’m not even gonna lie, it’s emotional. I go through moments when I’m like, ‘I can’t take it.’ But at the same time, I’m working and I’m in a position where I’m able to be a black woman that’s toted as beautiful…I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”