Kicking off Grammy weekend with the ultimate bang, Janet Jackson made a surprise appearance at ESSENCE’s 9th annual Black Women in Music event in New York City to honor longtime friend Missy Elliott.
The entertainment icon, who was just announced as headliner for the 2018 ESSENCE Festival, beamed with pride as entertainment industry mastermind and friend Mona Scott-Young brought her to the stage at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom to celebrate her long-time friend and musical collaborator.
Speaking with words that were a true testament to the authenticity of Elliott’s genius, while also sharing glimpses of the magic embedded in their decade-long friendship, Janet’s words were straight from the heart.
“Creativity is a beautiful thing,” she said. “And when creativity flows so freely from a musical genius, all we can do is express gratitude. I am so grateful for Missy’s beautiful soul.” Watch a clip of the incredible moment below.
ESSENCE honored Missy with the Visionary Award during the annual pre-Grammy event, which celebrates Black women’s extraordinary contributions to music and was presented in partnership with The Recording Academy and sponsored by Lincoln Motor Company and AT&T
Overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude, the woman of the hour took to the stage with an unforgettable acceptance speech that celebrated Black women, unapologetically credited the influence of her faith with the longevity of her career and reminded us all exactly why she’s most deserving of the title “visionary.”
The evening also included unforgettable tribute performances from Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47 and Grammy-nominated lyricist Rapsody, who both performed Missy classics like “I Can’t Stand The Rain” and “Supa Dupa Fly.”
A full house of additional celebrity guests, including Orange Is The New Black star Danielle Brooks outfitted in her best Missy-inspired outfit, along with Teyonnah Parrish, Naturi Naughton, Remy Ma, Fabolous, Lil Mo, T.I., Elle Varner, Daniel Caesar, Janelle Monae, activist Tarana Burke, music industry veteran Sylvia Rhone, and fans filled the venue to witness Missy receive the award.