Rapper Lil' Kim criticized for 'looking white'
Her noticeably lighter skin spurs wide reaction on social media
Lisa Respers France | 4/26/2016, 1 p.m.
(CNN) Lil' Kim looks nothing like she used to.
The rapper and former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant posted a series of selfies on Instagram over the weekend showing her decidedly lighter and blonder, with some accusing her of "looking white."
The photos of Lil' Kim, who was born Kimberly Jones, immediately kicked off multiple questions including, "Is that really Lil' Kim?"
It also reignited conversation about her former relationship with the late rapper the Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, who was gunned down in 1997. The pair had a tumultuous love affair, which some blamed for possibly causing Lil' Kim to have low self-esteem.
The female rapper has long been the subject of speculation that she has undergone plastic surgeries. In 2005, she told radio personality Angie Martinez that she got her nose fixed.
"It don't bother me because I told you, I'm beautiful," Lil Kim said. "I love myself. ... People think I did it because I had low self-esteem, but that wasn't the case. I think I did it because I was a little too vain."
But the conversation now has heightened into chatter about whether her new look is the result of surgery, skin bleaching, makeup, Photoshop or a combination of any or all.
Some observers have worried that Lil' Kim is setting a bad example for young women of color.