Last night, Janet Jackson surprised Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott by presenting her with The Visionary Award at Essence magazine’s ninth annual Black Women in Music event sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. In her speech about Missy, Janet said, “Some rhyme, some rap. Some act, some choreograph. Some write hit songs, some create whole new sounds. Some women are able to make her mark in some of these fields. But there’s only one woman who has made her mark in all of these fields.”
And this is what makes Missy “Supa Dupa Fly.” No one has been able to duplicate her ability to be the master of so many lanes in music. And in Missy’s journey of accomplishing so much at 46 years old, her “Rhythm Nation” friend has been an important part along the way. Missy was truly stunned when Janet came on stage to present her with the award, saying, “That was a surprise. I’ve known Janet over a decade. The times that I may have felt like giving up, she’s always gave me an encouraging word.”
In the video below we get to see a glimpse of Janet’s speech, along with Missy’s emotional reaction to her friend speaking of not only her accomplishments but the type of person that the double platinum artist is, sweetly declaring that she is “…one of the most genuine people I have ever known.” And in the middle of her speech, Janet looks out into the crowd where she sees the “Work It” raptress crying. Janet continued, “Awwww, Missy. You bless us with your loving spirit and your smiling heart, so from one friend to another, thank you. Really, thank you. I love you so much.”
When Missy took the stage to accept her award, she mentioned that she didn’t have the full confidence of the movers-and-shakers in the music industry to succeed because she was a woman and a producer and someone who wasn’t seen as traditionally beautiful.
“I want all of you women in here to know that you’re beautiful,” Missy said. “You gotta believe in yourself. Because there are going to be times that people tell you you can’t do it or you don’t look the part. But I am a walking testimony.”
As for the cherry on top, Missy thanked Essence for recognizing her work. As a magazine that celebrates the beauty and accomplishments of Black women, she felt especially proud saying, “I wouldn’t wanna be any other color but Black. I’m Black and I’m proud. There’s something about our DNA that can’t be taught, it comes from a different place.”
The Essence Women In Music event comes before the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, which airs on Sunday, Jan. 28 from New York City.