Today we will present a passionate US
post that highlights skin tone and its association with feminine beauty.
Why has Lil’ Kim seemingly lightened her skin? Because of the
absurd, but very present, social advantage for black people that comes with
having lighter skin.
There was a time when Lil’ Kim represented a brand of unapologetic self-love for
black women…I’m not sure what she’s now championing. In a series of pictures she
posted on Instagram, she is virtually unrecognizable.
While we have debated whether other celebrities like Beyoncé
and Rihanna have actually lightened their skin or if the magazines that featured
their images had photoshopped their complexions, with Kim, there surely can be
It looks as though she has lightened her once black-girl-brown
complexion to one that’s not so brown at all. Her hair is longer, straighter,
blonder. Her once round nose is now thin. Even her eyes sit differently on her
face. She’s changed, in ways that words can’t even begin to capture. And it
We live in the same world she does. And all over that world,
people of colour use a variety of chemicals to lighten the complexion of their
skin. In fact, wherever there are people of color—Southeast Asia, Latin America,
the Caribbean, Africa, and the United States—there is skin bleaching. In places
where the majority of the population has browner or darker skin, wearing
relatively lighter skin provides social advantage; and for women particularly,
the social advantage that comes with having lighter skin is being seen, and thus
treated, as more beautiful and attractive….
Hers [Lil’ Kim] is an image that reminds us of the pervasive
and insidious power of whiteness. We, as black women and girls, are assaulted by
it every day. We’re told our skin is too dark, our hair is too kinky, our bodies
are too big. We’re given options to change all of those things about
ourselves—from skin lighteners, to chemical hair relaxers….
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