Lil' Kim's new look has some fans accusing her of skin bleaching, and it has others speaking out in her defense.
The Grammy winner's looks have changed a lot since the '90s due to equal parts plastic surgery and the usual stylistic evolution of someone known for her iconic looks. (Hello, 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.)
Still, fans were thrown Sunday when the New York native posted a selfie collage to Instagram in which she was borderline unrecognizable.
In the picture's comments section and on Twitter, followers criticized her for looking “like a Starbucks white girl,” urged her to “get a better plastic surgeon,” and one commenter went so far as to suggest she “jump off a bridge.”
In the past, Kim admitted to feeling pressure regarding her looks. In 2000, the beloved rapper famously told Newsweek,
All my life men have told me I wasn't pretty enough--even the men I was dating… 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… Guys always cheated on me with women who were European-looking. You know, the long-hair type. Really beautiful women that left me thinking, 'How I can I compete with that?' Being a regular black girl wasn't good enough.
Fans familiar with Kim's struggle for self-acceptance reached out to provide love and support.
Stop laughing at Lil' Kim . Stop being a vile human being . #LilKim #Colorism — Clarkisha Kent (@IWriteAllDay_) April 25, 2016
I respect @LilKim for admitting that low self-esteem led her to change her looks. I pray she learns to love herself — Deon (@_iAmDeon) April 25, 2016
Who cares if Lil Kim had surgery? If she's happy, then it's not our place to judge. She looks amazing either way! — X-Men: Apocalypse (@MovieEntNews) April 25, 2016
Lil' Kim's body is Lil' Kim's body alone, a fact that, in a perfect world, would put an end to cruel comments over her decisions.
In the event there's something deeper and more painful inspiring these changes, it's reassuring to know Kim has some devoted, caring fans to lift her up when others won't.