| Undressed for success?
This Lil' Kim went to the market, and sold her body
I remember her. The cherubic-faced rapper Lil' Kim, the lone woman in the Junior M.A.F.I.A. clan. With her shortly cropped hair and full figure, she was slick and wise. Maybe I couldn't always relate to the words that came out of her mouth, but they were definitely words I could feel. It was 1995, and Lil' Kim (born Kimberly Denise Jones) was someone to watch.
Now, the twenty-five-year-old rapper has become, for some, a woman to loathe and for others, someone to idolize. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground with Lil' Kim. She is perceived as either an ostentatious tool or a sexy feminist.
The transformation began in 1996, with the release of Hard Core. In Lil' Kim's first solo album, Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s Afrocentric goddess gets replaced by a trash-talking strumpet. Trapped in the Madonna/whore complex--or, for black women in Hollywood's limelight, the mammy/prostitute binary--Lil' Kim comes out the whore every time.
No, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman unapologetically loving sex. Lil' Kim's lasciviousness is not really the issue. In many ways, she is just a female Luke. The frightening part is that her fans and critics actually try to pawn her off as a "feminist" and not the gyno-misogynist she really is--just as offensive to women as Dr. Dre, but with half the fat.
For those who see Kim's message as liberating, I have to ask, since when have women using their vaginas to get what they want been called feminists? Misogynistic rappers spout all the time that women are after them for their money, and Lil' Kim just echoes their message.
Look at her. The short-cropped Afro of 1995 has been replaced with a
menacing mane of blonde weave. She has added breast implants and gotten
a nose job. Her outfits--or lack thereof--have gotten skimpier and more
revealing as her lyrics have gotten worse. Still, people honestly want
to buy her albums. Why? Because the message could not be any clearer:
"Kim is for sale."
Undressed for success?