Missy Elliott made history on Friday night (November 3) as she became the first female rapper to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and Elliott was inducted by her longtime friend and collaborator, Queen Latifah.
Latifah praised Elliott for her innovative music and her impact on culture. She said, “This is history in the making… I thank God for introducing me to this woman right here who changed all of our lives and showed us how we can reach beyond our boundaries and try new things and take chances.”
In her acceptance speech, Elliott thanked God, her family, friends, and fans for their support. She also marveled at the various members of music royalty who were also inducted or who were in the audience. “I’m still pinching myself to even be in a room with some of the inductees. I see Flavor Flav, who is a legend. I love you, always been supportive. Elton John, legendary. Sheryl Crow, Chaka Khan, Willie Nelson.”
“All of these people have impacted people around the world through their music,” she continued. “Sometimes I’m like, do people really realize, like through music, what music does with people? That’s the one thing I think we can all say that comes together is music. You know, we all love music in some form, and all of those people who have already been up on the stage… I was just listening to other people’s stories and being like, wow, they’ve been around all of these years and just getting inducted who I feel been worthy to be up here. And that’s why I’m still in shock because they have so many years on me.”
She also paid tribute to the many musicians who inspired her, including Pepa from Salt n Pepa, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Roxane Shante, and Monie Love. “All those ones before me gave me their shoulders to stand on. So I just wanna take the time. My people say, ‘Hey, go up there, and you know, people wanna hear from you, how you feel.’ But these are the people who inspired me. And if it wasn’t for them and their music, I probably wouldn’t be standing here.”
Elliot also thanked her mother for allowing her to write songs on her walls.
“I have to thank my mother who is here. My mother has never seen me perform in my whole entire career. But lemme tell you – it’s not my mother fault. I most definitely didn’t wanna be saying ‘She’s a bitch,” ‘No minute man,’ ‘Please don’t fail me now,’ all of these records. I never wanted my mother to come to a show to hear me curse, ’cause you know, she’s from the church. But this night is so important and I wouldn’t have it no other way. Mommy, I thank you for allowing me to write songs on your walls.”
Finally, Elliott paid tribute to her longtime friend and producer, Timbaland. “We started this in high school. I am proud of you. I see you, you are legendary,” she proclaimed.
Elliott then took the stage to perform I uh a medley of her hits, including “Get Ur Freak On,” “Lose Control,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” and “Work It.” She was joined by a crew of dancers and backup singers, and she put on an energetic and captivating performance.
The 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class also includes Kate Bush, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow, George Michael, DJ Kool Herc, and The Spinners.