Lil' Kim's Radically Surgery-Altered New Look Sparks Heated Debate

Serious conversation fodder or much ado about nothing?

After posting photos of herself last Sunday on Instagram, Lil’ Kim has ignited a firestorm of controversy over her radically new look. The multi-platinum rapper, 41, is no stranger to physical reinvention, but her latest appearance has sparked heated conversations in regards to race, identity and self-image. Assuming that the photos are real (some are wondering if they’re fake ), the most controversial aspect of her transformation is that she appears to have dyed her skin a paler color. Reactions online have spanned the spectrum from compassionate and supportive to mean and, yes, racist. In an article about the performer’s surgery, The Daily Dot points to an insightful interview in Newsweek from the year 2000 in which she discusses her feelings about her looks:

“All my life men have told me I wasn't pretty enough—even the men I was dating. And I'd be like, ‘Well, why are you with me, then?’ It's always been men putting me down, just like my dad. To this day, when someone says I'm cute, I can't see it. I don't see it no matter what anybody says.”

Her new look:

Lil’ Kim in 2007:

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Online reactions: