Lil Kim Claims Controversial EBONY Magazine Cover Was Unauthorized, Releases Receipts Of Strikingly Similar Picture–‘Its The Sabotage For Me’

Lil Kim is claiming that a heralded publication tried to “sabotage” her with the release of a cover image that she (and her fans) say is unrecognizable. “Who is this? Cuz that’s not the photo I approved or any other content they’ve put out,” wrote the Queen Bee on her InstaStory.

Source: Keith Major @KeithMajor / EBONY Magazine

Unfortunately for her, the art director behind the image is alleging that the AI-adjacent picture was actually her doing, and now a “he said, she said” debate is raging on.
On Tuesday, EBONY Magazine released a series of covers celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop.
The covers included 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz, and Lil Kim.

And while the other aforementioned male rappers had no issue with the final look of their covers, the legendary femcee and her fans cried foul over her heavily-edited photo.

Lil Kim is real life beautiful dont play with her
— Ms. White (@lilkimvsp) September 19, 2023

this is WAAY better than what we got.
— ⧉ (@NASTlESTONE) September 19, 2023

At one point the criticism for the heavily airbrushed photo grew so loud that Keith Major, the now former photography director at EBONY, openly said that Lil Kim took creative control over the pic.

“Man, she wanted to be in control of the retouching so this is what we got,” wrote Major in an Instagram comments section.

The photographer behind Lil’ Kim’s recent ‘Ebony’ cover reveals that she was in charge of retouching the images
— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) September 19, 2023

According to the Hardcore rapper, however, that’s untrue and she’s got the receipts to prove it.

“I always told Ebony it looked like a painting but they didn’t wanna listen,” wrote Kim on her InstaStory. “They said they love it. It’s the sabotage for me. The funny s### about this, is that this is THEIR retoucher!” she added taking a clear shot at Keith Major’s retouching claims.

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
— TheShadeRoom (@TheShadeRoom) September 20, 2023

She then went on to show what her approved image looked like—-but according to fans, it’s incredibly hard to see the difference.

Lil’ Kim on set of her Ebony Magazine
— Lil’ Kim Media (@LilKimMedia) September 19, 2023

Hit the flip to see Lil Kim’s EBONY Magazine receipts.

Late Tuesday, Lil Kim reposted a message from a member of her team who released a side-by-side photo of the “approved” photo versus the EBONY magazine cover.

“Me & @LikKimTheQueenBee stayed up for hours wit the team & chose this 1…we have the receipts fool!” wrote Kim’s team member over the photo they wanted to be used for the cover.

Here is a side by side comparison of the photo Lil Kim says she approved versus the published photo . (📸: @ebonymagazine) ✍🏾: #TSRStaffST
— TheShadeRoom (@TheShadeRoom) September 20, 2023

Social media manager @Rayeesuh of Candidly Social, another ally of Kim’s, also backed up the rapper and blasted the photography director.

@KeithMajor How about we talk about your photo exposure so low we couldn’t even salvage them,” wrote the Candidly Social head. “At the end of the day it was EBONY’s retouchers who edited the photo. I also heard you got fired after this. Let’s talk about that, sir.”

Let’s talk about it… lying on Lil Kim FOR WHAT?
— LIL KIM VIDEOS (@LilKimVideos2) September 20, 2023

Similarly, a stylist on set also made similar claims in the Queen Bee’s defense.

Let’s talk about this. A stylist that was there on set for Lil’Kim ebony magazine cover shoot. @LilKim
— Looking for Wonderland. (@Schoollover) September 20, 2023

Despite Kim and her team’s claims, some people can’t quite spot the difference in the two photos. Others, however, are on her side ad they’re tired of the disrespect thrown her way.

the fact that lil kim looked at that Ebony cover photo & asked who that as if the pic she submitted was any better or different… well who tf did u submit?!?
— Rip Butter🕊💔 (@iamVickie_90) September 20, 2023

That’s literally the same photo just with the Valencia filter on it 💀
— 𝚃𝙷𝙰𝚃 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕 (@xoxoo_de) September 20, 2023

The lil Kim disrespect gotta stop. Treat her like the legend she is.
— BILLION DOLLAR BABII 💚🧃 (@BOYBARBII) September 20, 2023

Ebony doing Lil Kim like this is shameful like… that’s a legend.
— briana supports the WGA. (@briasoboojie) September 20, 2023

What do YOU think about this messy cover photo fracas?

See the rest of EBONY magazine’s 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop covers on the flip.

Swizz Beatz

Source: Keith Major @KeithMajor / Ebony Magazine

Story By @mrkevinharry
Photographer @keithmajor
Editor-in-Chief & SVP, Programming @mariellebobo
Creative Direction @inrashidasworld
Video By @megamedia
Stylist @thereelmclovin
Groomer Niecy Small
Executive Producer @tracseysees

Rick Ross

Source: Keith Major @KeithMajor / Ebony Magazine

Story By @janeebolden
Photographer @shamaalbloodman
Editor-in-Chief & SVP, Programming @mariellebobo
Creative Director @inrashidasworld
Video By @megamedia
Style Direction @untouchablemmg
Stylist Ana Aranda
Groomer Pero Antunes
Executive Producer @princessmbanuzue

Busta Rhymes

Source: Keith Major @KeithMajor / Ebony Magazine

Story By @mmlunlimited
Photographer @keithmajor
Editor-in-Chief & SVP, Programming @mariellebobo
Creative Direction @inrashidasworld @juneambrose
Videography @worldwiderev @webuildheroes
Video Editing @megamedia
Style Director @ugomozie
Groomer @jessicasmalls
Prop Stylist @wendy_c_photo
Floral Designer
Executive Producer @traceysees

50 Cent

Source: Keith Major @KeithMajor / Ebony Magazine

Story By @arshaw23
Photographer @keithmajor
Editor-in-Chief & SVP, Programming @mariellebobo
Creative Director @inrashidasworld
Video By @megamedia
Stylist @lovingrachel
Groomer @jessicasmalls
Executive Producer @traceysees