Missy Elliott made history as the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
It was a star-studded salute as Queen Latifah honored the rap pioneer during the 50th Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday night (June 13), while Michelle Obama sent in a congratulatory message.
“Missy, I want to thank you for all of your trailblazing ways,” said the former First Lady in a pre-taped video. “Thank you not for just sharing your gift with the world, but for being an advocate for so many people out there, especially young girls who are still figuring out how to make their voices heard.”
A grateful Missy was overcome with emotion as she took the stage. “Every time I come up to a podium … even with all the work that I’ve done, I don’t know, and I’m assuming it’s just God, I don’t know why I am here,” she said during her 10-minute acceptance speech. “I want to say one thing to the writers, to the upcoming writers, ‘Do not give up.’ We all go through writer’s block. Sometimes you just have to walk away from a record and come back to it. But don’t give up because I’m standing here. And this is big for hip-hop, too.”
Lizzo, who collaborated with Missy on “Tempo,” paid tribute to the rap icon by performing her 1997 classic “Sock It 2 Me.” Wearing an outfit reminiscent of what Missy wore in the late ’90s, including the finger wave hairdo, Lizzo paid homage to her idol and brought out Da Brat for her original guest verse.
“Missy, I wanna thank you so much for inspiring young black girls like me to chase their dreams,” she said. “I love you so much. I wouldn’t be here without you.”
Missy is the third rapper to enter the Songwriters Hall of Fame, following JAY-Z in 2017 and Jermaine Dupri in 2018. In addition to penning hits like “Lose Control,” “Get Ur Freak On,” and “Work It,” she has written for some of music’s biggest names including Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson.
Taking to Instagram after the induction ceremony, Missy reflected on the milestone moment. “I am SPEECHLESS 20 some years of writing for myself and others is worth it,” she said. “Thankful to smell my flowers while i’m here.”