Lil’ Kim, Kim Jong Il and the inevitable confusion after a prominent figure’s death


Rapper — not North Korean leader — Lil' Kim. (Jim Cooper/Associated Press)

In addition to the many serious worries that arise after deaths of controversial leaders, the Internet also overflows with much more absurd questions. Questions such as: “Is Lil Kim dead??” and “Lil Kim’s dead? Is there any truth to this?”

Yes, in the wake of the passing of Kim Jong Il, some Twitter users seemingly believe that the female rapper Lil’ Kim had died instead. BuzzFeed has compiled a list of 25 such people.

For the record, she did not. But we should have expected this sort of thing.

Carlos Santana was presumed dead by many Twitter users after the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi because of his pseudo-resemblance to the dictator. And celebrity death hoaxes have become an almost weekly occurrence. Facts need not apply on Twitter.

Of course, a visit to a search engine could have cleared up any confusion, as it did for this person: “I searched online. You guys are wrong. Lil Kim’s alive.”

Other Twitter users began referring to Kim Jong Il as Lil’ Kim on the social network site, perhaps because of his size or as a sign of disrespect. (Mother Jones once compared the two figures.) The Wall Street Journal points to N’Gai Croal as perhaps the start of the “RIP Lil Kim” Twitter trend. To his credit, Croal, a former Newsweek journalist, did link to a story about Kim Jong Il’s death.

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