The moment Missy Elliott took the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, viewers knew something iconic was about to happen.
Elliott was in attendance to receive the Video Vanguard Award, honoring the entertainer for the music and incredible videos she’s given fans for over 20 years.
The rapper and producer performed a medley of hits including “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” “Work It,” and “Lose Control” alongside her recent hit “Throw It Back.”
While accepting her overdue honor Elliott gave a shout out to the dance community and late singer and friend Aaliyah.
“I know that she would have been happy,” Elliott told ESSENCE. “She would have been proud because she knows the hard work that I’ve done. We were always egging each other on. When she was filming Queen of the Damned, I remember going to the hotel and [she had on her] fake vampire teeth, while studying her lines. We were just so happy.”
“It’s always been that,” Elliot continued. “Even with Tim [producer Timbaland] and I or Ginuwine and I. So I know she would have been happy for me and, hopefully, she was looking down. I felt a good energy and I felt relaxed and calm, unlike when I did the Super Bowl. I was shook, I was so shook. But this time I just felt a calmness and so I know, along with God being there, I feel like Aaliyah was there and present.”
The video icon also added that her shout out to the dance community was because “they’re not just props.”
“A lot of times we use them and they are the ones whose energy is transferable to the crowd. I wanted even other artists to see that they’re not just props up there. As artists, we’re feeding off of their energy or else we wouldn’t even have any dancers. That shows how important they are when artists have dancers on stage with them.”
Elliott says she hopes to see Busta Rhymes take home the Video Vanguard Award next, a very worthy recipient considering Rhymes’s incredible catalog of videos, including “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.”
“He’s someone I have watched his videos and we call each other twin because, you know, he cares about his videos just like I do. And I just thank God that I got it this year. Each year my fans have fought diligently for me to get it. They have hit MTV up diligently and I thank them for that and I’m just thankful that it happened. Grateful. Very grateful.”