Is the Public Being Too Hard on Lil’ Kim?

March 14th, 2013

(Photo: Michael Stewart/WireImage)

By Jake Rohn

Okay, if you’ve been keeping up with celebrity news these past few weeks, you may have noticed that Lil’ Kim has gone through some big changes. Recently she was spotted in public flaunting what appeared to be the result of a copious amount of plastic surgery.
For those too young to remember, Lil’ Kim in the ’90s and early 2000s was hip hop’s Madonna; a no holds barred bad girl that shocked the world with her brash sexiness and unapologetic bravado. Syracuse University even offered a class that focused on how her rhymes changed sexual politics in hip hop. Lots of celebrities elect to get cosmetic procedures done (some more egregious than others). As a public figure, your appearance is a part of your brand, but Kim’s has garnered an inordinate amount of attention. The Brooklyn-born rhyme-spitter even became embroiled in all-out warfare with daytime talk show host Wendy Williams via Twitter. Williams bashed Kim’s look, saying the 38-year-old “out-La Toya’d La Toya (Jackson).” Kim fired back, claiming the photos used for the show were Photoshopped and even alleging that Williams hooked up with the late Notorious B.I.G.
With all the negative attention surrounding Lil’ Kim, it’s only fair to ask: Why are people hating on the Queen Bee so much? Is it possible that we, the public, unfairly set a standard for her that she could not live up to? One thing to keep in mind when talking about cosmetic surgery is that Black women have it much harder than anyone else. Anything they do to “whiten up,” whether coloring their hair, or in some cases, lightening their skin, often sets off a firestorm of criticism from both mainstream media as well as members of the Black community who feel that aspiring to look more white negates the idea that Black is beautiful.
One of the more unique challenges Lil’ Kim has faced her entire career is being one of the first women in hip hop that was considered a sex symbol. Before she burst onto the scene as a member of the Notorious B.I.G.-helmed Junior M.A.F.I.A., female rappers were perceived more as tomboys. Kim did a 180 on that way of thinking. Hip hop more than any other genre is a young man’s game. Lil’ Kim is a rare exception to that rule but now, with other younger femcees like Nicki Minaj and Kreayshawn walking down the path that she blazed, even she is finding it tough to live up to how the public once perceived her.
Overall, it comes down to something Katt Williams said: If you don’t have a lot of haters, you’re probably not doing well.
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