Lil' Kim's transformation highlights negative perceptions of black beauty

The criticism against Lil' Kim's dramatic skin lightening procedure has highlighted the challenges of perceptions of black beauty.

The United States rapper recently shared pictures of her new look, in what has been an ongoing transformation of her looks.

702's Azania Mosaka spoke to Mail & Guardian Arts Editor, Milisuthando Bongela, regarding the issue.

Listen to the conversation below:

We need to unpack amongst ourselves without the kind of judgement one usually sees on social media, because it's much deeper than Lil' Kim or Mshoza.

Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian Arts Editor

Once we do unpack that, then you can link it to much bigger social, political and cultural issues.

Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian Arts Editor

There are social values attached to physical attributes. A mother will give birth and if that person is born with a penis then he steps into the social values of masculinity. Same as light skin, there's social values attached to it.

Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian Arts Editor

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report revealed that skin lightening products are growing in popularity in African countries, with 77% of Nigerian women using them.

I don't think Lil Kim wants to be white, but she wants to enjoy the benefits that comes with being light skinned.

Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian Arts Editor

White supremacy oppressed us at different levels. The worst thing you could be was Black, but it was a little better to be Indian or Coloured.

Milisuthando Bongela, Mail & Guardian Arts Editor
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