Photo by Kaitlyn Morris/FilmMagic.
Lil’ Kim Says ‘Ebony Magazine’ Retouching Was “Sabotage”
After Ebony Magazine released a special Hip-Hop 50 commemorative cover with Lil’ Kim, the rap icon slammed the publication on Instagram.
Lil’ Kim has hopped in the ring with the Ebony Magazine team. On Tuesday (September 19), the publication unveiled their five-part Hip-Hop 50 covers, starring Kimmy Blanco, Swizz Beatz, 50 Cent, Rick Ross and Busta Rhymes, but fans were surprised at the amount of airbrushing on Kim’s cover.
She look absolutely horrible. Idk y ppl lie to her, allat surgery makes her look crazy. You were pretty when you were DARK SKINNED Kim.— the pretty girl with a lot to say (@the pretty girl with a lot to say) 1695159188
I actually like Lil\u2019 Kim\u2019s Ebony Magazine cover. I didn\u2019t think anything of it because all of her pictures look like that. It is what it is!\n\nLove her and all, but we\u2019re not about to pretend like our good sis doesn\u2019t like an airbrush and some editing!— \u1d05\u1d0f\u029f\u029f\u1d00\u0280 (@\u1d05\u1d0f\u029f\u029f\u1d00\u0280) 1695226464
When it comes to this Hip Hop Game, you don\u2019t wanna bumble with the bee and for almost three decades, Lil Kim has continued to show us why. From her days with Junior Mafia to now, she has always come correct with bars slicker than honey with an impeccable charisma that is\u2026— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONY MAGAZINE) 1695142451
Responding to the controversy was photographer Keith Major, who claimed that Kim, born Kimberly Jones, wanted to be “in control” of the retouching.
Photographer Keith Major says Lil Kim wanted to be in control of the retouching for the Ebony Magazine 50th Anniversary of HipHop cover— Glock Topickz (@Glock Topickz) 1695134526
\ud83d\udc40— gonna be a chop but we thank you for coming (@gonna be a chop but we thank you for coming) 1695174056
Members of the Brooklyn rapper’s team clapped back, saying that they didn’t choose the final image and slamming Major’s camera exposure for being “low.” The Hardcore artist also jumped in via Instagram Stories, writing “Who is this?! Cuz that’s not the photo I approved or any other content they’ve put out.”
She continued, I always told Ebony it looked like a painting but they didn’t wanna listen. They said they loved it. It’s the sabotage for me. The funny s*** about this, is that this is THEIR retoucher!”
Jones, who releases her autobiography The Queen Bee in September 2025 with co-author Kathy Iandoli, also shared a before and after images of the planned cover versus the final result, the first being unedited.
Kim’s altering appearance has been the subject of controversy for years, with the 49-year-old once telling media personality Angie Martinez that she underwent facial reconstruction after enduring domestic abuse.
Lil' Kim talks plastic surgery with Angie Martinez (2005)www.youtube.com
In a 2000 interview with Newsweek, the rapper also discussed her past lovers having an affinity for “European-looking” women, even cheating on Jones with them.
“Really beautiful women that left me thinking, 'How I can I compete with that?' Being a regular black girl wasn't good enough,” she said. And the implants? "That surgery was the most pain I've ever been in in my life. But people made such a big deal about it. White women get them every day. It was to make me look the way I wanted to look. It's my body."
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