UPDATED 9/20, 7:48 p.m. ET: Lil Kim is debunking the claims that she was behind the retouching for her Ebony magazine cover.
“Who is this?! 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 shit about this, is that this is THEIR retoucher! 🤣😩🤦♀️,” she wrote on her Instagram.
Raisa, who works as Kim’s Digital Media Manager, also weighed in on the situation, writing in her defense, “@keithmajor How about we talk about how your photos exposure was so low we couldn't even salvage them. At the end of the day it was EBONY's retouchers who edited the photo. I also heard you got fired after this shit. Let's talk about that, sir.”
Online personality Rolling Ray also showed support for Kim. “@keithmajor you messy for this comment! & now I see why she has yet to promote it. When working for top iconic people you never speak how you just did. The photo is actually amazing!!! At her level I don't blame her for wanting to be in control of how she's portrayed. & u don't know who she knows! Ebony [mag] ain't been this hot in years! She just woke y'all up from the dead & this the thanks that she gets! Wow.”
“Me & @lilkimthequeenbee Stayed up for hours wit the team & Chose This 1 .. We have The Receipts Fool! For The Record We definitely didn't choose that other flick. @ebonymagazine #EMD,” wrote user international_smoove.
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Several supporters of Kim hopped on social media to question whether Ebony's new cover photo was generated using AI.
“This retouch is so bad, I thought it was AI. Somebody pls tell me it is. QUICKLY," tweeted one fan. Another added, “Now Ebony knows they need their asses whooped. Why they got Kimberly looking like AI?"
On Monday, Keith Major, the photographer behind Ebony’s cover shoos, cleared the air, revealing that Kim was in creative control of the retouching.
"Man, she wanted to be in control of the retouching so this is what we got," Major wrote in response to an Instagram user who asked who photographed the cover.
Ebony isn't the first magazine to feature Lil' Kim on its cover this year.
Back in May, XXL photographed the "Magic Stick" rapper as part of its Legends series. The story featured Kim reflecting on her legendary career, which kicked off nearly 30 years ago with her landmark debut, 1996's Hard Core.
"Everyone calls me an icon, and it’s an honor to me," she told XXL. "It makes me smile. It makes me happy to know that people look at me that way because I never really saw that for myself, but it just happened organically, and this is my place in hip-hop."