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Lil Kim Says She Didn’t Approve of Heavily Retouched ‘Ebony’ Magazine Cover: ‘They Didn’t Wanna Listen’

Lil Kim Talks Ebony Cover Drama
Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

Lil Kim wasn’t thrilled with her recent Ebony magazine cover.

Earlier this week, the publication unveiled its fall 2023 issue — which celebrates 50 years of hip-hop — via Instagram, featuring Kim, 49, and a host of other influential musicians. On Kim’s front page, the rapper appeared to be heavily retouched, prompting confusion among social media users.

One follower went as far as to ask, “Who photographed this?” in the comments section of Ebony’s post. In response, Ebony’s photography director Keith Major wrote back, “Man, she wanted to be in control of the retouching, so this is what we got.” 

Kim, however, has a different story. In a since-expired Instagram Story, Kim reposted the cover — and blasted the outlet for allegedly using an image she didn’t approve of. 

“Who is this?!” Kim began. “Cuz that’s not the photo I approved or any other content they’ve put out. 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—t  about this is that this is THEIR retoucher!” 

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Kim also reposted a comment from her social media manager, Raisa, who refuted  Major’s claim. “How about we talk about how your photos exposure was so low we couldn’t even salvage them,” Raisa alleged. “At the end of the day, it was EBONY’s retouchers who edited the photo. I also heard you got fired after this s—t. Let’s talk about that, sir.” 

Ebony has not addressed the incident further, but fans have continued to discuss the drama online. Some even referenced Kim’s changing appearance through the years and use of Photoshop. 

“Love her and all, but we’re not about to pretend like our good sis doesn’t like an airbrush and some editing,” one tweet read. 

The rap star has been accused of undergoing extensive plastic surgery, which has appeared to drastically alter her face. 

In a 2005 interview with radio host Angie Martinez, Kim revealed that she went under the knife after an abusive ex-boyfriend broke her nose, causing it to “shatter.” A few years prior, Kim revealed she had “low self-esteem,” which also prompted her to transform her look. 

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“Guys always cheated on me with women who were European-looking,” she told Newsweek at the time. “You know, the long-hair type. Really beautiful women that left me thinking, ‘How can I compete with that?’ Being a regular Black girl wasn’t good enough.” 

She added, “[My breast implant] surgery was the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life. 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.”