Every female rapper currently enjoying their Hot Girl Summer owes their due to Missy Elliott, so it's perfectly fitting that she is this year's recipient of the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. The rapper, songwriter, and producer will receive the honor during the 2019 VMAs on August 26, along with performing live at the ceremony for the first time in 16 years.
Elliott has long been a staple of the hip-hop genre, having risen to fame for tracks such as "Get Ur Freak On" and "Work It." Her agile flow and equally agile dance moves have undeniably launched her to multihyphenate stardom, and her previous six records have all gone platinum, making her the first female solo rap artist to achieve this. She proved her continued relevance by appearing on Lizzo's "Tempo" earlier this year, and she is currently working on her long-anticipated seventh studio album (release date TBD).
“Missy’s impact on the music landscape is indelible,” Bruce Gillmer, Viacom's head of music and music talent, told Variety. “Her creative vision across production, performance, and songwriting is unmatched.”
Perhaps Elliott's most iconic video to date has been that for "Work It," her 2002 hit which won the VMA for Best Hip-Hop Video and featured a now-beloved cameo from actress Alyson Stoner, whose deft moves, perky pigtails, and oversized sweats that would make Billie Eilish jealous made her an instant cult figure. Missy Elliott's signature style and jerky choreography make her well-deserving of the Video Vanguard.
Despite being a prestigious honor with a winners' club that counts Jennifer Lopez and Kanye West among its members, the award has faced scrutiny over its name following the revelations of the documentary Leaving Neverland, which accuses late pop artist Michael Jackson of child molestation. MTV has not changed the award's title even in light of the controversy, but it has dropped "Michael Jackson" from the name in some of the promotion, making it just the Video Vanguard Award.
You can tune into the 2019 MTV VMAs on Monday, August 26th at 8 p.m., when Elliott, Marc Jacobs, and many other winners will take home their moon people. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco will be this year's host at the ceremony, which will happen at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Watch Missy Elliott's "Work It" video here: