‘I Am a Champion for My Brown, Dark Women’: Living Legend Missy Elliott Covers Marie Claire

Illustration for article titled ‘I Am a Champion for My Brown, Dark Women’: Living Legend Missy Elliott Covers Marie Claire
Screenshot: Micaiah Carter (Marie Claire)

Fun, fly fact: Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of Missy Elliott’s debut drop, Supa Dupa Fly.


If that anniversary astounds you, it’s likely because aside from the fact that we don’t feel 22 years older (that was legit half my lifetime ago, at this point), the song, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” still slaps, proving Missy was always well ahead of her time.

“We created a sound that we didn’t even know we were creating, It’s just that we didn’t know what was hot, so we just was creating music,” Elliott says in Marie Claire’s August issue, recalling her early years growing up in Portsmouth, Va. “I wish I could get back to that space of not seeing or hearing, because when you see and hear, you start to concentrate, and then you are afraid to try something new because it don’t sound like anything else.”

Covering the issue (and looking gorgeous doing it), Elliott reveals she’s always been light years ahead of her peers, openly claiming superstardom since her grade school years, and bringing those aspirations to fruition.

“It’s funny because I was just telling somebody that everything I spoke, I’ve done,” she tells the magazine. “And that’s how powerful the tongue is...I used to sit in the house and act like I was having conversations with Janet and Michael and Madonna and whoever. I then would go and say my thank yous for award shows that I hadn’t made it to yet. I had speeches, and I would be in the mirror thanking my mama.”

Now, it’s us who give thanks for Elliott, who, either through her own releases or those of the countless artists she has developed and produced, has provided the soundtracks for our lives, loves, and dance floors. “I am a champion for my brown, dark women,” reads a pull quote in the open to her Marie Claire feature. If we knew how special we were, we would be unstoppable.” As a musical and lyrical genius, style icon, body-positive pioneer, brown-skinned beauty and all-around badass, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott remains the champion we root for.


Fittingly, Elliott wears a necklace bedazzled with the word “Iconic” on Marie Claire’s cover. The rapper and singer turned 48 on July 1 (and doesn’t look like she’s aged a day), became the first female hip-hop artist inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June, and in the last five years alone has both stolen the show at the 2015 Super Bowl and from the backseat of Michelle Obama’s Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. But despite all she’s accomplished, while recently bodying her headlining set at the 2019 Essence Festival, she effectively dissolved the decades since her very first release as the Louisiana Superdome bopped, rhymed and recited her lyrics word for word.


And she’s far from finished; the living legend is still determined to make us dance, with new music coming our way soon—and I, for one, can’t wait. When asked what she’d like our takeaway to be when listening to her next release, Elliott simply tells writer Ashley C. Ford, “There’s no one like Missy. No one.”

Trust, Missy; we don’t need a new album to know that. But we’ll happily take it.

Correction, 7/18/19, 11:03 a.m., ET: An earlier version of this article stated that Elliott hails from Rochester, Va. She is from Portsmouth, Va.; the article has been changed fpr accuracy.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Oh, for all the people who hated on Missy...how ya like her NOW?!

I love that she’s achieved her dreams, became an icon and maintained her privacy.