[OPINION]<br />
Lil' Kim's Big Secret

Unless you’re tragically farsighted, you’ve noticed that much has already changed about Lil’ Kim through the years. The legendary rapper we first met as the late Notorious B.I.G.’s protégé has gone from brown skinned bombshell to this person who looks Jessica Rabbit adjacent. Yet, she continues to distance herself from any and all questions centered on her cosmetic operations.

Kim most recently did so during her appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live. The show’s ever-observant host, Andy Cohen, noted how nice Kim appeared – even going as far to compliment her blue contacts – but nevertheless read a viewer submitted question about her history with plastic surgery. Kim refused to answer the question, but to her credit, did so in a manner far more pleasant than the time she reportedly hung up on a BET.com interview after hitting her with a similar query.

She might be good and comfortable riding that elephant in the room, but not many seem willing to play along. After Kim took to Twitter to complain about 106 & Park co-host, Rocsi Diaz, for posing an “unappropriate irrelevant question” last week, a rumor surfaced that Rocsi asked the legendary rapper if she missed her 1995 face. That was false, but the fact that so many were wanted to believe it speaks volumes.

Kim was there to promote her upcoming performance on BET’s Rip The Runway. Although we’ve yet to see the highly praised performance, released photos from the event were enough to get folks talking.

A celebrity plastic surgeon by the name of Dr. Anthony Youn gave an interview to Radar Online about Kim’s transformation, claiming that she “looks like a big mess,” saying her nose had been thinned “to the proportions of a popsicle stick.” Dr. Youn then proceeded to accuse her of having injections made to her face and posterior, before ultimately suggesting that she may have a body image problem.

You don’t say, doc. More of these kinds of stories will surface as Kim makes more appearances in preparation to release new music.

I am no saint when it comes to sometimes making harsh observations about Kim’s elective medical procedures, but Kim hasn’t been a hot bed of sensitivity on the subject either. That “hot air ass” crack she made about Nicki Minaj was just as inviting to outside criticism as the blue contacts, freshly shipped blond weave attached to her head, and Taylor Swift’s makeup kit.

Unfair as it might sound, Lil’ Kim framed much of her music and imagery around her aesthetic value, hence the continued focus on the way she looks. I’m not sure as to whether or not that kind of pressure magnified what appears to be problem related to self-esteem, but I’d like to think in some way she could create meaningful dialogue with her story.

For all his creative genius, that’s something Michael Jackson failed to do before his untimely passing. The debate over vitiligo may go on for eternity, but the changes made to his nose, hair, lips, and other features are irrefutable. He, like Kim, seemed intent on morphing into an image as least like the one he was born with as possible.

I haven’t been a shining example as of late, but I am a Lil’ Kim fan and understand it’s her prerogative to continue dancing around the issue if so chooses. Still, as she goes on TV prepping a “new Kim” for the world to hear, many of us continue wondering what she felt was bad about the old Kim we used to see.

Maybe one of these days she’ll drop her guard and let us know.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick