THE BRONX - When the hip-hop star Lil' Kim posted light-skinned selfies to social media, many of her fans were shocked.
They say it appears to be skin bleaching, which critics say represents a problem that's more than skin deep.
Kadia Blagrove, a professional lifestyle and beauty blogger, says she once struggled with her own self-image and perception of beauty.
"Even when I was younger, I wished I was lighter skinned," Blagrove says. "I wished I had lighter hair and eyes. I would see my lighter skinned classmates being treated better by classmates, even teachers."
Silvia Cacares, who owns a beauty supply store on East 167th Street, says skin lightening creams and lotions are very popular among African-American and Latin women.
But, she says, it appears that Lil' Kim used something much more powerful.
"She must've used something else -- not a bleaching cream," Cacares says. "It must've been a different process, because I've never seen something like that."
As the debate around Lil' Kim's new look continues, Blagrove says she has some advice for people who want to look lighter skinned.
"Love yourself," she says.