Lil' Kim and Our Relationship With Beauty


It's no secret that the face of Lil' Kim has changed over the years, but Ebony contributor Esther Amrah was upset by a recent photo of the MC. Amrah breaks down Kim's path to beauty and its twists and turns.

Lil' Kim's transformation isn't new, nor is it news, but I ran across some recent pictures of her and was stopped in my tracks. Not because of any individual feature. But rather because I was looking at a face that was almost other-worldly, alien, unknown, unfamiliar, bearing no resemblance to a self of several years ago. No-one looks like this. Her bone structure—now unrecognizable, carved with seeming self-hate and accentuated with blush—a nose that could stab rather than sniff and eyes permanently on stare. This is hard. That's why 'emotional justice' matters. It's the term I created to deal with our legacy of untreated trauma that has tumbled down from generation to generation and manifests in all different forms. Black beauty is one of those forms.

Our reflection in the mirror reveals not just one single story, but so many. Our beauty is not a landscape, it's been—and continues to be—a battleground. It's where little girls come to wound and be wounded; it's where boys come to inflict the keenest hurt and run away laughing, or rather suffer stings and stabs themselves.


Read Esther Amrah's entire op-ed at Ebony.

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