We know and love Missy Elliott for early 2000s classics like “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It,” but when it comes to expressing her feelings in public we don't get to see it very often.
On Thursday the world got to witness that side of the 46-year-old rapper in New York for Essence’s ninth annual Black Women in Music event, where she received the Visionary Award.
While she knew she was going to be praised, she didn’t know by whom—until Janet Jackson hit the stage to pay tribute. “Some act, some choreograph, some write hit songs, some create whole new sounds, some women are able to make their mark in one of these fields, but there’s only one woman who has made her mark in all these fields,” Jackson said, according to E!. “Not only have you made your mark, but she’s done so with boldness and courage.”
Jackson continued with words that totally brought Elliott to tears, which you can see here:
“Creativity is a beautiful thing, and when creativity flows so freely from a musical genius, all we can do is express gratitude,” she said. “I am so grateful for Missy’s beautiful soul. I am grateful for her creativity, her energy, grateful for her soaring inspiration. I’m grateful for how she stood toe-to-toe with these guys, showing them that a woman can do it all, take charge, lead the way, innovate and create without fear. Grateful for how she’s cleared the way, the path, for new generations of young talent to follow.”
So how did Elliott react? “That was a surprise,” she said. “I’ve known Janet for over a decade—and this is not just someone I do music with. I can call Janet any time of night and she will listen … The times that I may have felt like giving up, she’s always given me an encouraging word.”
The friends hugged it out, and Elliott closed with touching words for others. “I wouldn’t want to be any other color but black. I’m black and I’m proud. There’s something about our DNA that can’t get taught. It comes from a different place,” she said. “I want y’all, all of you women in here, to know that you’re beautiful. You’ve gotta believe in yourself because there are going to be times that people tell you [that] you can’t do it or you don’t look the part. But I’m a walking testimony [that you can].”