So in the past week social media went insane when rap icon and game changer, Lil Kim’ showed up looking like a woman from a different ethnicity. Think – of the caucasian persuasion 🙂
Black women and bleaching ain’t anything new, but Kim’s drastic change is what has everyone talking. As someone who grew up in the 90’s when Kim was crushing the rap game, it’s been hard to see what I’ve always seen as a beautiful black woman change so drastically over the years. Kim went from what I thought of as a nice mocha to looking like a white woman. Seriously, check out the CNN video below if you think I’m joking.
This one hits hard. Almost makes me wanna cry. Because this extreme sort of transformation opens up so many issues of internalized racism, beauty standards, self hate, lack of self esteem, feelings of being imperfect, not enough and so much more. I can already hear the critics railing against Kim and how she’s destroying the consciousness of young black girls or promoting self-loathing and a whole lot of the other issues they would want to dump on her. Sure, on the surface it’s easy to call it self hate but there’s more than that happening here. You can’t really judge her unless you understand the bigger picture or lived with the discomfort she’s carried being a black woman. A black woman in a world where black women fall on the lowest rung of the beauty ladder.
The irony of all this too, is that much of the ire this will provoke will come from the same people who attack black women’s body . You know them; they applaud the thick legs, lips and thighs on other races but attack them on black women. It’ll also likely be the same people who attack Beyonce for letting Blue Ivy’s hair stay the way it came out of her head, call dark-skinned models like Alek Wek ugly, and give a hard time to any light-complected, straight nosed, black girl with ‘good hair’ a hard time for not having ‘traditional African features’.
You see, it’s okay when Amber Rose and women of other ethnicities alter themselves to take on features and proportions that have generally been held by black women yet these same people take issue with the same proportions and features in black women. I feel what Kim needs now is a lot of help, love and less condemnation. She made a choice that she felt she had to and society by and large contributed to it. I think my biggest concern for her at this time is that now that she has attained the beauty she’s desired, she’d better know that she’ll always be seen as black and more so, there’ll always be prettier white women than her. Men will stray. Partners may still leave her. We see it all the time. Men walk away from stunning women daily because they get tired or realize that beauty is skin deep. Kim needs to know that achieving this new complexion won’t entirely solve her problem.
I hope this really gets a conversation going that brings about meaningful change. All the ladies out there who are comfy in the skin they are in, in spite of perceived ‘flaws’, I salute you. Please chime in on this post in the comment section below.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.