Janet Jackson made a surprise appearance at Essence’s 9th Annual Black Women in Music event, and it was all to present Missy Elliott with the magazine’s Visionary Award.
The two artists have collaborated on songs like “Burnitup!” and “Son of a Gun,” but they’re also close friends. Jackson surprised Elliott by flying out to New York while touring in the UK to be the one to present her with the award.
The singer noted that Missy has raised the bar for artists in the music industry by being an artist who can do more than just rap. “Some act, some choreograph, some write hit songs, some create whole new sounds, some women are able to make their mark in one of these fields, but there’s only one woman who has made her mark in all these fields.”
In other words…
Jackson continued on to say that not only has Elliott made her mark on music, “but she’s done so with boldness and courage.”
She thanks the rapper for many things. Her legacy, her character, and her friendship included. “I am so grateful for Missy’s beautiful soul. I am grateful for her creativity, her energy, grateful for her soaring inspiration. I’m grateful for how she stood toe-to-toe with the guys, showing them that a woman can do it all, take charge, lead the way, innovate and create without fear. Grateful for how she’s cleared the way, the path, for new generations of young talent to follow. And I am so very grateful for her loyal friendship that has meant more to me than she could ever know.”
The entire thing had Missy in tears. Get a tissue because her touching tribute will bring a tear to your eye, too.
#IMGRATEFUL @janetjackson that u would fly over from the UK while on tour to present me with the #BlackWomenInMusic @essence Award last night of course I’M A BIG BABY & i COULD’NT STOP CRYING TEARS of HAPPINESS our SISTERSHIP has lasted over 17 years!Your the definition of REALNESS/HUMILITY/CARING/INSPIRING/UPLIFTING/FIERCE/BOLD/RISKTAKING/BLACK STRONG& BEAUTIFUL oh & RICHGirl u know I had to throw a joke in it♀️but I LOVE you sis for always being there for me from Day 1thank u @essence for the love u showed me I am Humbly Grateful
Elliott posted this video on Instagram with the caption: “#IMGRATEFUL @janetjackson that u would fly over from the UK while on tour to present me with the #BlackWomenInMusic @essence Award last night of course I’M A BIG BABY & i COULD’NT STOP CRYING TEARS of HAPPINESS??? our SISTERSHIP has lasted over 17 years!??Your the definition of REALNESS/HUMILITY/CARING/INSPIRING/UPLIFTING/FIERCE/BOLD/RISKTAKING/BLACK STRONG& BEAUTIFUL oh & RICH?Girl u know I had to throw a joke in it??♀️?but I LOVE you sis for always being there for me from Day 1??thank u @essence for the love u showed me I am Humbly Grateful??”
After Janet gave her speech, Missy Elliott explained that their friendship is more than just music.
“I’ve known Janet over a decade—and this is not just someone I do music with,” Elliot said. “I can call Janet any time of night and she will listen. The times that I may have felt like giving up, she’s always given me an encouraging word.”
She also told the women in the crowd to believe in themselves and in their beauty, “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.”
Missy Elliott talks about how she influenced hip hop as an artist, as well as her personal rise to where she is today.