EntertainmentSnob, He Said/She Said, PopCulturalist

Necessity Is The Mother of Re-Invention: Lil Kim

At some point you have to put the crotch-shots away and woman-up. This is where we find Ms. Kimberley Jones, aka, rapper Lil Kim in our year of the Lord, two-thousand-and-nine.

She’s been to jail. She’s been vilified. She’s done all sorts of ungodly things. She’s been under the knife repeatedly to change her look from a cute, but regular, black chick, to a blown-up, boobie black Barbie. She’s been raunchy. She’s been nasty. Now she’s singing for Nelson Mandela’s birthday bash with Cyndi Lauper.

The times, they are a-changin’.

More after the jump.

Last season Lil Kim took a turn for the better when she went on the ultimate star reinvention show, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. She used her time far more wisely than Master P did during his run, actually bothering to master the Cha Cha and two-step rather than argue over shoes. She went “all-in,” as in, she was all in for an image change. Being the “baddest bitch” had its horrendous downsides, and even though she was part of creating the monster that threatened to destroy her, I couldn’t help but root for Jones’ makeover.

Everyone deserves a second chance.

Like many women in Kim’s hyper sexualized situation, she had been the product of abuse and poverty. Wanting out and wanting fame she was willing to use her body to get it and let someone else write the rhymes. That worked, for awhile, but when you present yourself as a vulgar pin-up it’s hard to get taken seriously, and the same men who once backed you, you learn were only using you for the cash. They were more than fine with dumping you once your particular flavor-of-the-month was no more. While Kim, despite her efforts, is no singing talent, she could have easily been warbling out Mary J. Blige’s ultimate “I’ve been changed” anthem, “No More Drama,” as Kim has come out as mainstream and is giving up the raunch, at least temporarily, to try something a tad more respectable.

I, for one, hope she sticks with the plan. If former Playboy pin-ups Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy can come home and play Prodigal Daughters, why can’t Kim?

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16 thoughts on “Necessity Is The Mother of Re-Invention: Lil Kim

  1. sarah says:

    I didn’t get the Cyndi Lauper duet but hey whatever. And I don’t think comparing her to Jenny McCarthy or Anderson is completely valid. Yes McCarthy and Anderson were both playmates and hypersexualized but I don’t remember them being as crude and vulgar in their work as Kim. I mean Lil Kim really took it to some disturbing places and she also didn’t help the already over-sexualized image of black womaen with that bullshit either…so am I rooting for her No. If she’s able to remake herself good for her.

  2. Shawna says:

    It’s not clear to me exactly what Kim is trying to change herself into. A singer, an actress? I applaud her for becoming a rapper and making a way out of no way. But if she thinks anyone is ever going to take her seriously as anything other than a rhyme sayer she is seriously mistaken. And her plastic surgey looks horrible. I think she was cuter when we first saw her in the Junior Mafia video.

  3. steph T says:

    I think she’s come out strong in a way that so many women of all races and socio economic situations could relate to. This was especially true on DWTS. She came across as someone who had come to truly accept herself — the good the bad and the downright embarrassing. She showed that you can move on if you work for it. Although there were some truly cringeworthy moments on DWTS — I mean, her dancing ability is more than her ability to shake booty, but certain judges didn’t always see that. But she shook it off and persevered. Fight on, ‘lil Kim.

  4. Lite Bread says:

    Any chance we cut her some slack, and think she just has grown up and matured? Kinda like we all have. Or should. That we once were stupid a@@ kids too. That did really dumb things.And I agree with "David Wise" above.

  5. Adeshola Blue says:

    She seems to be growing up. God forbid I had been in the public eye with some of my unfortunate decisions. Y’all are real cruel. She couldn’t make me feel like less than a woman because of her image. Shoot, I still own the cds, and I am someone’s mama. She was abandoned by her mother and kicked out by her father, but you guys always want to blame the image… I am glad you all aren’t God. jeez. Cut the girl some slack. She is starting to grow up. When most people know better they do better.

  6. BooBooKitty says:

    I’m not falling for it. It’s a desperate attempt to keep up the means to living the life of a celebrity but like you said, the marketing trend that made her famous and rich is obsolete now. What is there else to do but hold us hostage to empathizing or worst, sympathy, to make excuses for her and her childhood? Fuck that. My family was horrible and I did not prey on impressionable CHILDREN with commerical sexual gimmicks like she did to market a brand that corrupted and decieved our children and even our peers who wanted to believe Lil’ Kim and the likes were equilateral icons to model after. She terrorized us school teachers who tried to confiscate our children’s minds back from her and her peers that believed their hard-knock lives justified their anything-goes rationales. She and so many non-talented but pop-culturally appealing one-hit and two-hit wonders that impressed our children’s minds and when I speak of our children, I am also speaking of our young adult peers at the time who were resisting growing up. And we felt guilty of being labeled fascists or elitists that we had to accept their pronouncements that they were "artists". She is no artist and never contributed. And people tried to council here to cultivate her to learn but she wanted to take the easy routes that led her to her fall. People told her it would not last forever and tried to mentor her. She knew Black People were afraid to tear her apart and make themselves look like the Bad Guy so she ignored them. Being "good" and "square" and "committed to betterment" was not en vogue then. It’s a trend now. It’s a marketing trend. I told Jehmu Greene years ago that the record industry and their (con) artists would feign they would want to save the world when the axis changed to not be in their favor anymore. I told her that the very people that contributed so much destruction would be wealthy with easy access to camera-time and flash marketing to repaint themselves as dedicated altruists when the trend changed. And it has happened. None of these entertainers are altruistists. They are marketing longevity and fighting to keep you, their competition, disabled at home in awe of them and their tricks instead of being the true talents contributing real artist merit to society. (You fell for it.)

  7. Saudia says:

    Whoa Snob – You sure brought out the self righteous with this article!! Heaven forbid these holier-than-thou folks should give a ratz azz about Lil Kim… You people feel better now?

  8. Zion says:

    I’m sick of us using white Americans as an excuse for our bad behavior. If all of white women behaved as hoochies, somehow it excuses our less than virtuous behavior? Again, using white folks as the barometer for what is acceptable and unacceptable screams inferiority. While Anderson and McCarthy have behaved badly, my black children had more access to Lil’ Kim and her perversions. Lil’ Kim has had more of an opportunity to keep the image of the oversexed black woman alive thus playing into the crusade of reducing the black woman down to an angry animal. Isn’t it strange now that she is kicking 40 in the butt that suddenly she has found redemption. It’s more like, "I’m trying to stay relevant after distorting black womanhood, and perverting our children." We have to stop defending people simply because they look like us. Many of these black celebrities could give a care about us and our children. For example, I am still waiting on Beyonce to announce that she is going to let her contract from L’Oreal expire because of their refusal to allow women of color in powerful positions. Now, many of her stans will argue how much she loves them, but yet, she will continue to work for a company that does not promote women of color unless they’re spending money or promoting one of their products. What is my message, stop giving guilty black folk cover just because they’re entertainers and they just happen to look like us.

  9. Se*francophone* says:

    Snob,the picture you have put is a picture of her botched surgery ( the nose). She has redone it ( dancing with the stars ) and looks way better. The barbie doll comparison and the picture do not match but when i look at her new pictures, you are right about the comparison http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/plastic-surgery/103991-lil-kim-successful-revision-botched-plastic-surgery.html I still prefer her initial appearance but it is already done and she can’t change the past. I hope her the best.

  10. marci says:

    kim is a survivor… i totally loved kim’s duet with lauper… lil kim has grown.. we should leave her be..she has recorded some of the best tunes of her era.. i danced my butt off when i heard her.. i have her albums..i laughed when she roared on the mike.. the pure cheekiness… her voice always belied her stature and i loved that…lil kim is now ‘kim’… people should stop the hate… at the very least she is making an effort…

  11. Vanity Sicks says:

    i used hate on kim for some of the reasons stated above, but she got me with her DWTS Tango (“Hercules! Hercules!” -said like the mom from Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor). she’s all growed up. she’s trying to evolve and i applaud her for that (whether the peanut gallery agrees with her direction is irrelevant). over the years, Kim has won me over – and i gotta admit, I got love for her. Do you Kim – as crazy as you wanna do it.

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