By: Spencer Jones
The Portsmouth City Council decided to name a street “Missy Elliott Boulevard” in honor of one of Virginia’s most famous people.
The rapper, whose real name is Melissa Arnette Elliott, is always re-inventing herself creatively, and continues to be one of the most enduring and beloved faces in music.
A trailblazer who got her start in the mid 1990s, Missy walked so that the likes of Meg Thee Stallion, Latto and younger talent can run. Her style is like no other in genre; a blend of sexy, gritty and playful.
The Local Council Voted For The Boulevard’s Name
According to Live For Live Music, “the Portsmouth City Council in August voted unanimously to approve the street’s renaming in honor of the award-winning artist.”
Missy took pictures of herself holding the sign and posted them on Twitter this month.
Portsmouth City Manager, Tonya Chapman, said in a press release, “we’re beyond proud of Missy’s accomplishments and so thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate her right here in her hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia.”
She added: “Missy’s trailblazing career is a testament that when you dream big, anything is possible. We’re excited to celebrate her and rename this street in her honor.”
The Ceremony Was Emotional
Glenn Youngkin, the Governor of Virginia, declared October 17 “Missy Elliott Day” via official proclamation.
The Mayor of Portsmouth, Shannon Glover, gave the rapper a key to the city.
Live For Live Music reports, “there was a full day of events, including a dedication ceremony on the newly rechristened stretch of road. It covers a portion of McLean St. between Greenwood Drive and Airline Boulevard. ”
There was also a showcase at Missy’s alma mater, Manor High School.
This Is Not The First Time She’s Been Honored
In November 2021, Missy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a honor many believe was overdue.
It was an emotional moment for the rapper. “I’d come here 20-some years ago and just used to walk past all of these stars and just imagine,” she said. “It’s just a blessing to dream big and it truly happened. I’m truly standing here.”
At the unveiling, Ciara and Lizzo were present, filming the ceremony on their phones.
Missy Is Grateful To The Early Women Rappers
Just as this generation of rappers look up to her, Missy gives props to those who paved the way.
During the Hollywood Star ceremony, she said, “I especially want to thank my sisters in hip-hop. I love each and every one of y’all — the ones that’s poppin’ and the ones that’s about to be poppin,.”
She called Queen Latifah, Roxanne Shanté, MC Lyte and others “the godmothers” of the genre.
Just About Everyone Knows A Missy Song
Over the years, Missy has collaborated with some of the best in the business, including Timbaland, Janet Jackson, Lil’ Kim and Nas.
In the early 2000s, you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing “Get Your Freak On,” a catchy blend of hip-hop and Bhangra beats. The music video was quintessential Missy- sassy and fun.
“Lick Shots” and “One Minute Man,” also from the Miss E…So Addictive album, had similar success.
As noted by Variety, “Missy and Timbaland reshaped the sound of hip-hop, making songs out of pings and bips and bloops (both vocal and electronic) that quickly became part of the foundation of virtually all that followed.”
In January 2022, Missy Set A Record
On Twitter, Chart Data announced, “all six of Missy Elliott’s studio albums are now certified RIAA Platinum or higher, the highest among female rappers.”
Missy re-tweeted this, adding, “This is a huge milestone! No matter how long it took to get here and I am humbly grateful! To all my sisters in hip-hop ya’ll keep doing ya’ll thing and shining!”