Missy Elliott has already won seven VMAs. But today, she got the ultimate award: the Video Vanguard Award, the award show's highest honour given to one artist each year.
During her speech, Elliott thanked the litany of people who helped her along the way, from inspirations like Biggie to her team at Atlantic Records to her mom. "It means so much to me. I promise it doesn't go unnoticed, that this support and love you’ve shown me over the years," Elliott said.
Elliott also used her platform to remember Aaliyah, who died almost exactly 18 years ago in a plane crash at the tragically young age of 22. "Aaliyah, I love you. We miss you," Elliott said.
Elliott worked with Aaliyah to produce her second album, One in a Million. She regularly writes about her friend. In honour of what would've been Aaliyah's 39th birthday, Elliot posted a message on Instagram: “Aaliyah so many people LOVE your Style & Music TIL this day! I wish they all got a chance to meet you to see how CARING you were to EVERYONE you met!”
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Aaliyah so many people LOVE your Style & Music TIL this day! I wish they all got a chance to meet you to see how CARING you were to EVERYONE you met! I CAN STILL HEAR YOU LAUGH & us cracking up all the time & me you @Timbaland joking?we MISS YOU so much!?but I know you are surrounded by ANGELS and yall dancing doing a Dope routine a sick 8 count for your BDAY?????? WE LOVE U from The Supa friends! and YOUR FANS! Prayers for mama DIANE & your bro RASHAD??❤️
Elliott is the first woman rapper to be given the honour. Interviews with artists and producers like Pharrell, Ciara, Lizzo, and Justin Timberlake emphasised what a revolutionary Elliott has been throughout her career, changing hip hop, pop culture, and style for the last two decades.