Naturi Naughton is an established television star these days, but in 2009 she was still just the girl who got kicked out of 3LW. Naughton was looking to really catch a break in her career and did so that year, scoring two significant roles. One was in the film FAME and the second was as Lil Kim in the Notorious B.I.G film.
Naturi talked with Jemele Hill about the role and how it came about. She revealed that, at the time, she had managed to make her way onto Broadway, where she was part of the cast of Hairspray. Naturi says that getting the part of Lil Kim was not easy, especially since she did not see herself in the part. Naturi confessed that portraying Lil Kim was the furthest thing from her mind. “There’s no way I could ever be Lil Kim. ” Naughton says that she did not even know how to rap and struggled with Kim’s signature verse on “All About The Benjamins.”
She admits that her acting is what saved the audition and convinced them to give her a second shot. They asked her to go home and work on the raps, so she went home and studied an entire Kim album. “I enjoyed finding the ‘Lil Kim,’” she said of figuring out how to capture Kim’s signature voice. When asked how Lil Kim responded to her portrayal, unfortunately, the artist was not a huge fan of Naturi’s take.
Naturi believes that has more to do with the writing than her work. “I was just an actress. I just wanted to do well. I really wish I had a different relationship and support.” Naturi said her focus was to capture Kim’s passion and desire to win as well as her love for Biggie. Naturi said she initially took Kim’s hate to heart because a lot of it was aimed at her appearance.
Naturi said she struggled with her appearance from her time in 3LW, so it triggered those emotions. “I felt like it was personal, but as I matured as an actress, it’s not personal.”