Kimberly Denise Jones.

Kimberly. Denise. Jones.


What is going on? How did we let this happen, black women? How did we let one of the baddest in the game go Sunset Boulevard on us and then act like nothing happened?!

Lil’ Kim was the first female rapper to make it big; the first one to embrace her sexuality and encourage black women to do the same. Her duet with Christina Aguilera Can’t Hold Us Down was just one way she turned the tables.

‘Here’s something I just can’t understand, if a guy has three girls then he’s the man/He can either give us some head or sex and more/If the girl do the same then she’s a whore.’

I, like millions of girls, loved Lil’ Kim to the Gucci store and back.

I, like millions of girls, loved Lil’ Kim to the Gucci store and back. There she was, seated at the right hand of the father (RIP Biggie), making her own money, buying her own cars, getting as much respect as the boys, rocking her fantastic wigs, collaborating with the best and yes, being groped by Diana Ross. You know you remember that purple jumpsuit. Kim was, frankly, the bomb.

Lil’ Kim was unapologetically little, flashy, the queen of bling and more importantly proud of herself as she was. Proud of being a young black female rapper from Brooklyn, who had climbed up the ranks of the music business and having shed her mantle of side piece, became a bonafide star in her own right. Or so I thought. To all five feet and two inches of my surprise, she rocked up on the YBF (Young Black And Fabulous) website after having posted an image on her Instagram account looking…well, anything BUT black and anything BUT proud.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by her transformation into Miss Piggy.

The hate is strong in the black community for dark-skinned women and, to a lesser extent, men.

The hate is strong for black women period, but the darker you are, the faster rocks are thrown.

The hate is so strong that when Michael Jackson confessed he was suffering from a skin disease that plagues roughly one per cent of the world’s population (or 50 million people) we instead chose to believe that he was bleaching his skin because he was ashamed to be black. In fact, it was the complete opposite (nose job notwithstanding).

This isn’t really about Kim. It’s about all of us

The hate is so strong that when Russell Wilson left his white, blonde girlfriend for (admittedly lighter skinned) black songstress Ciara, the internet erupted with cries of ‘WTF?!’ mostly coming from black people across the diaspora.

The hate is so strong that the government of Jamaica is considering drastic sales restrictions on certain beauty products given the current bleaching pandemic. I don’t know if you heard me the first time… The government of a predominantly black nation is taking measures to protect its black citizens from themselves. Sit with that for a second. It’s wild.

This isn’t really about Kim. It’s about all of us. It’s about living in a society where, despite years and years of ‘Black is beautiful’ campaigns and all the representation mattering one hashtag can bear, we’re still failing if the idea that black ISN’T beautiful is still pervasive enough to reach out and touch a woman who was once so formidable.

This is a discussion about the toxicity of our mindset towards our skin colour.

I’m not going to talk about Kim’s cosmetic work (her nose, lips and booty are no one’s business but her own) and I would encourage you all to be just a respectful unless you’re the ones paying the bills. Because I know you, black women, and I know that we are some ruthless online warriors when we want to be.

This is a discussion about the toxicity of our mindset towards our skin colour and the fact that we need to start raising our children in such a way that I never have to see another Kimberly Denise Jones either on social media or on the street again. This is about us consuming more than $7bn per year of beauty products and not being represented adequately either in the offer of products or the marketing campaigns. This is about us loving and accepting our features and being proud of them. This is about uniting black women to love and support each other and have each other’s back until we really DO believe we’re beautiful and loved because we live that every day in our own homes.

Because we failed Lil’ Kim, ya’ll. All of us. From Sacramento to Tokyo, we failed her.

Let us not fail ourselves and our sisters again.

PS. this isn’t an epitaph to Lil’ Kim. She’s alive and well and raising her own beautiful chocolate-coloured button of a daughter. I speak of her in the past tense because… well, she’s white now.

*Kanye shrug*