“I’m thankful,” Missy Elliott said while becoming the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame Thursday night in New York City.
The history-making induction also marks the third time a rapper has ever been inducted into the Songwriters Hall, following Jay-Z in 2017 and Jermaine Dupri in 2018.
ESSENCE digital cover star Lizzo and Da Brat were on hand to tribute the hit-making rapper with a performance of the award-winning producer’s hit “Sock It 2 Me.” Queen Latifah and even Michelle Obama honored the rapper who produced hits, including “Lose Control,” “Get Ur Freak On” and “The Rain.”
“Missy, I want to thank you for all of your trailblazing ways,” our forever first lady said during a video played during the event. “Thank you not for just sharing your gift with the world, but for being an advocate for so many people out there, especially young girls who are still figuring out how to make their voices heard.”
While accepting the honor alongside her 2019 classmates British singer Cat Stevens and country singer John Prine, Elliott grew tearful.
“Every time I come up to a podium,” the ESSENCE Fest performer said with tears in her eyes, “even with all the work that I’ve done, I don’t know, and I’m assuming it’s just God, I don’t know why I am here.”
Elliott then had an encouraging message for other “upcoming writers:”
“‘Do not give up,’” she said. “We all go through writer’s block. Sometimes you just have to walk away from a record and come back to it, but don’t give up because I’m standing here. And this is big for hip-hop, too.”
Reflecting on the night, Elliott wrote on Twitter Friday, “Last night my heart was full. Latifah one of my besties your a Queen. [Lizzo] [Da Brat] my sisters merked it! AND