Don’t call it a misdemeanor, call it a milestone. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott is a star in her own right, but now she can also claim a star on of the most famous mile-long strips in the world: the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Elliott’s induction ceremony took place on Monday, November 8 with some very important collaborators on hand to celebrate the hip-hop icon, who is now nearly 30 years into her ongoing career.
“We here baby!” Elliott captioned a post on Instagram. “And I know a lot of people say (Missy it’s bout Time) but this was the right time (God’s Timing)& I am Grateful! This is a moment that I shall never forget & all the people who have been on this journey with me through my ups and downs & sickness I want you all to know how much you mean to me💜💜💜 I am still filled by seeing I have a star amongst so many other great Stars my heart is Smiling and I thank all my SuperFriends and all the female EMCEES before me thank you for being the foundation for me Queens👑 I am HUMBLED!”
“I only have one thing to say to Hollywood Boulevard: You’re welcome!” said an emotional Lizzo, speaking on Elliott’s indelible influence at the ceremony. “You are the brightest star in the universe, Missy...I’ve watched you my entire life. And I saw a superstar in you, but I’ve also seen myself. I’d never seen myself and you lived so boldly and so beautifully and so unapologetically and so out loud.”
“You have no idea what you have done for so many Black girls,” she continued (h/t E! Online). “We don’t deserve you. We don’t deserve Missy Elliott and still you continue to give to us and given with your heart. Your genius. Let me just drop some words: Genius! Icon! Queen…Queen of Hip-Hop! Visionary!”
Visionary, indeed. The artist born Melissa Arnette Elliott broke new ground in the rap game with the release of her debut solo studio album, 1997's Supa Dupa Fly. As noted by E!, in the 24 years since, the rapper, singer and producer has earned five Grammys and sold over 30 million records in the U.S. alone; a number which contributed to making Elliott the best-selling female rap album artist in Nielsen Music history. Elliott is also the first female hip-hop artist to receive the MTV Video Music Awards’ Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, both occurring in 2019.
Elliott has also fostered talent, not only influencing Lizzo’s stratospheric rise but crafting hits for former protégées Aaliyah, Tweet and Ciara, among others, frequently alongside childhood friend turned fellow super-producer Timbaland, who co-created Missy’s signature sound. Timbaland couldn’t make the ceremony, but Ciara was on hand to celebrate Elliott’s triumph on Monday, alongside the living legend’s longtime manager Mona Scott-Young (also known as the force behind the Love & Hip-Hop franchise).
The Walk of Fame honored its 2,708th star with a statement listing more of Elliott’s incredible bonafides, reading in part:
One of the most significant female artists in music history, Missy Elliott is a pioneer of female Hip-Hop and R&B, groundbreaking songwriter-producer, and across-the-board cultural icon. The five-time GRAMMY® Award winner – with nominations spanning three decades – has attained unprecedented success. Missy’s six studio albums have each been RIAA platinum-certified or better, marking her as the only female rapper to achieve that remarkable accomplishment...
Elliott’s massive mainstream accomplishments have extended far beyond her own solo works, including innumerable guest appearances on singles and remixes by a truly diverse span of musical artists. As one of modern pop’s definitive songwriters and producers, Elliott’s star-studded list of songwriting credits continues to grow, including collaborations with Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Katy Perry, Ciara, Monica, Toni Braxton, Faith Evans, Ginuwine, Fantasia, Jazmine Sullivan, and Justin Timberlake, among others. Recent years have seen a series of surprise event appearances like her unforgettable performance at 2015’s Super Bowl XLIX alongside Katy Perry. In 2016, Elliott united with former First Lady Michelle Obama for “This Is For My Girls,” an all-star anthem to female empowerment performed by Kelly Clarkson, Chloe x Halle, Jadagrace, Lea Michele, Janelle Monáe, Kelly Rowland, & Zendaya. This year, Elliott directed the City Girls “Twerkulator” video for which she won BET’s 2021 Director of the Year Award.
“Missy Elliott has broken through the barriers of the male-dominated Hip Hop world, and music industry as a whole, as she has led the way for many women who have followed in her footsteps,” stated Hollywood Walk of Fame Producer Ana Martinez. “She continues to break barriers year after year and we’re thrilled to be able to honor her on the Walk of Fame.”
“Each moment is just a blessing for me,” said a tearful and very transparent Elliott at the podium as she thanked friends, family, and fans for their decades-long support. “There’s times I’ve 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.”
“It’s just a blessing to stand here, and I’m truly standing here,” she added.
You can watch the entire ceremony in full—including remarks from Ciara and Mona Scott-Young—above, and messages from Janet Jackson and Busta Rhymes below. For those who want to skip straight to Missy’s acceptance speech, it begins at approximately the 44:44 mark.
But we can’t help but feel Lizzo may have summed up Elliott’s influence best:
...You have no idea what you mean to all of us Missy,” Lizzo continued. “This is more than deserved. Let us continue to celebrate all of your accomplishments and your influence forever. We love you so much Missy. Congratulations.”