When Ebony magazine revealed the several covers for their Hip-Hop 50 issues, they inadvertently presented fans with not just a whodunnit but who is it, sparking controversy after presenting an extremely photoshopped image of a nearly unrecognizable Lil Kim.
The storied publication headed to Instagram on Tuesday to reveal the “Can’t Hold Us Down” artist’s cover snaps. Defined by obvious blurring, extreme highlights, and highly edited makeup, fans flocked to the comments, baffled as to how the Queen of Rap found herself the victim of a Khloe Kardashian-esque edit job.
“I’m so happy for her as she deserves every bit of her flowers. But I hate that she's unrecognizable like this,” wrote one commenter, while another called for the photo editor “to get fired and blacklisted. Immediately.”
But it wasn’t just fans who were peeved about the photo. Shortly after the image sparked controversy, Keith Major, Ebony’s photographer director, spoke out, appearing to pin the entire failure on Lil Kim and her team.
“Man, she wanted to be in control of the retouching so this is what we got,” he wrote on social media.
The “Lady Marmalade” songstress, however, was having none of these claims, firing back in a heated Instagram Story.
“Who is this?! Cuz [sic] that’s not the photo I approved or any other content they’ve put out,” she wrote, noting that although she attempted to tell the outlet’s overlords that she felt the photo “looked like a painting,” they “didn’t wanna listen.”
Lil Kim speaks out about her Ebony Magazine cover and says that she did not approve the image or any of the other content that was released. (: @ebonymagazine, @gettyimages) ✍: #TSRStaffJW https://t.co/Xryhc2PPem pic.twitter.com/KWfea24Hn1— TheShadeRoom (@TheShadeRoom) September 20, 2023
She even had one of her team members corroborate her story, sharing side-by-side snaps of the offending cover and the ever-so-slightly-less edited photo they had approved.
Photoshop: One hell of a drug.