The City of Los Angeles has declared Nov. 8 “Missy Elliott Day” as the pioneering artist received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday. To help unveil her star, the Virginia legend was joined by peers, family, colleagues including her longtime manager, Mona Scott-Young, and artist friends, Ciara and Lizzo.
“I’ve had the honor of being Missy’s manager for the past 25+ years and so today, although, we’re here to talk about and to honor and commemorate the legacy and the genius that is Missy Misdemeanor Elliott— I wanna talk about Melissa Elliott,” Scott-Young began. “Missy Elliott inspired us to work it, but Melissa is the person who inspired and pushed me to put my thing down, flip it and reverse it […] It has been my absolute honor to have you in my life for so many years.
“You think Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott, you have no idea. Melissa Elliott is the most humble, the sweetest, the most loving, the most giving, the most caring person that I know, and today, we honor your contributions to the world.”
Ciara, then, took the mic to honor her longtime collaborator and friend. The Goodies singer reflected on her first meeting Elliott when they first collaborated on “1, 2, Step” and considered it an immediate connection.
“Somehow, I got lucky enough to have Missy Elliott as my mentor and big sister. She made it seem like anything was possible and she still makes me feel that way today,” she gushed as she looked over lovingly at Missy. “She paved the way for me and many others that followed. There is no one like Missy. No one like Missy. She oozes with boundless creativity, a visionary, the epitome of true artistry, strength, integrity, and grit. She created genre-blurring sounds of a modern hit-maker that continues to defy space and time.”
Lizzo took to the podium singing the chorus to Elliott’s classic hit, “Work It.” She quickly turned her attention to the concrete, saying, “I only have one thing to say to Hollywood Boulevard—you’re welcome!”
Turning to Missy, the “Good as Hell” artist said, “You’re the brightest star in the universe, Missy. I don’t have the history they have with you, but I’ve watched you my entire life. I didn’t prepare anything today because I thought I was just coming to hang out and now I’m about to cry.”
Lizzo began to weep as she continued. “I saw a superstar in you, but I also saw myself. I’d never seen myself before and you lived so boldly and so beautifully and so unapologetically and so out loud. You have no idea what you’ve done for so many Black girls. We don’t deserve you. We don’t deserve Missy Elliot and still, you continue to give to us. You’ve given and given and given with your heart, your genius.”
As she began to simply label Elliott with words like “genius,” “Queen of Hip-Hop,” and “visionary,” the crowd chimed in with descriptors of their own.
Visibly teary-eyed and choked up, Missy accepted her honor and expressed her gratitude for her fans and supporters. “I wanna thank God, first of all. Because I’ve been sick. There’s times I’ve been sick. Anxiety, depression, and through the grace of God and faith, I’ve kept going. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be standing here in front of a star.”
She continued, “I came here 20 years ago and just used to walk past all these stars and just imagine. It’s just a blessing to dream big…I wanna send love to everybody from Virginia. 757, I love y’all. My mother who has been the backbone to everything that you see standing here. Timbaland, who couldn’t be here, but that is my right hand. We spent so many times at his house, dreaming of just doing music. Not even being successful, but just doing music and we stuck by each other all these years.”
The famed artist-songwriter-producer then acknowledged some of the artists who helped lay the foundation for her as a songwriter and producer including Ginuwine, Magoo, Tweet, and Playa. She highlighted Sylvia Rhone who was the first person to sign Missy. “I didn’t want to be an artist,” Missy reflected, “and they told me that if I gave them one album, they would give me a record label. From that one album, I gave them six.”
The 50-year-old also took a moment to thank the women in Hip-Hop who have inspired her. “I wanna give a big shoutout to the godmothers of this and that is Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Sha-Rock, Angie Stone, Roxanne Shante, Yo-Yo, MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, and I know I’m probably missing some, but all of y’all who started before me— y’all are the backs that we stand on. Y’all are the foundation and I couldn’t stand here. Y’all ran so we could walk. Y’all stood for something, so we could sit comfortably. I thank y’all for this moment.”
Missy Elliott’s star can be seen in front of Amoeba Records on Hollywood Blvd. Watch her introduction and acceptance speech below.