Artist Project by Gabrielle Bynum
Missy ‘Misdameanor’ Elliott is a well known name around the world and a staple in the Rap genre. She can be described as a multitalented artist that is known not only for her songs but for the voice she uses to help others. Because of her ability to make her self and others rise this artist project will focus on the history, influences, and her accomplishments as an artist and advocate.
Missy Elliott, also known as Melissa Arnette Elliott, was born in 1971 on July 1st in Portsmouth, Virgina. She is the only child of Patricia Elliott and Ronnie Elliott. Patricia was a power company dispatcher, while Ronnie was apart of the US Marines. She grew up in Jacksonville, North Carolina until 1985 when she moved to Hodges Ferry, Virgina to escape her abusive father.
Elliott has always had music in her veins, because her mother was in a singing group that would perform locally. When she was growing up she would perform at the end of the drive way, and treated her hairbrush as a microphone. When she got older she participated in her local church’s choir. Six years after she moved to back to Virgina, her career as an artist had begun.
Early: Missy Elliott’s career started in 1991 when she formed a female R&B group called Fayze. The group was produced by Timothy “Timberland” Mosely. Timberland and Missy became friends in high school through a mutual and made music together. After Fayze started to grow, DeVante Swing from Jodeci signed them with Elektra Records’ Swing Mob imprint. Fayze moved to New York and changed their name to Sista’s. In 1995 Swing Mob ended, and Missy Elliott and other artist created The Superfriends. 1996 was a big year for Missy because she worked with stars like SWV, Destiny’s Child, and P. Diddy, and created her own company. Her business, The Goldmind, was under East West Records from the Elektra Entertainment Group. In 1997 she dropped her first solo album: Supa Dupa Fly. In the next three years after that she dropped Da Real World and Miss E… So Addictive, which collectively sold 4.5 million copies worldwide.
Middle: By this time in her career she had released 6 albums and made many appearances in movies and tv shows. In 2005 she had her own reality tv show called The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott, but it only aired for one season. In 2008 she was diagnosed with Graves disease, and put her career on pause.
Late: In 2015 she made a surprise comeback during one of the most watched Super Bowl Half Time shows in history. She continues to record her own music, collaborate with artist, produce music, direct music videos, and write songs for others.
If you would like learn more about Missy Elliott, please check out this interview: https://variety.com/2021/music/news/missy-elliott-hollywood-walk-of-fame-1235107088/
Missy Elliott in Sistas
The Rain - Supa Dupa Fly
At the SuperBowl
Contemporaries and Influences
Missy Elliott’s musical talent has resulted in her being influenced by and working with many talented artist. To list a few: Zendaya, Mel B, Whitney Huston, Beyonce, P Diddy, Eminem, Timbaland, Destiny’s Child, Ciara, Jodeci’s DeVante Swing, City Girls, Aaliyah, Lil Kim, Eve, and Nicki Minaj. Two artist Elliott views as inspirations are Angela Winbush and Patrice Rushen. Her biggest mentors are her mother, P Diddy, Sylvia Rhone, and the late Chris Lightly.
Missy Elliott’s talent did not only extend to writing songs and rapping but was amplified by her amazing music videos. These creative outlets won Missy multiple MTV Video Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and BET awards in various categories. She has also received a Billboard Women in Music for Innovator Award, and many more. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A few of the Awards Missy Elliott has Won
Missy Elliott has done so much in and outside of the music industry. She is well known for her talent and skill in a male-dominated field. Her pioneering allowed other female rappers to follow in her footsteps. Missy constantly used her music to relay the message of gender equality and uplifting women. Elliott’s womanist mindset resulted in support of the individuality and independence of women. Her message aided the encouragement of women to explore their sexuality and fight gender norms. Missy Elliott would incorporate her beliefs into many songs, and some would even call her lyrics “liberal.”
Missy Elliott’s ability to clear a path for women was not the only thing she did. Elliott is known for helping disadvantaged kids, especially girls. Which resulted in her donating to “King Daughters Children’s Hospital, Minor High School Gift, The Cool Girls Charity, and Girls Make Beats”. In 1999, Missy Elliott came out with a lipstick line and donated the proceeds to a nonprofit that tried to help youths being affected by domestic violence. Her childhood caused her to care deeply about girls being abused. She also fights against homelessness, unemployment, and abuse. Lil’ Kim Cares Foundation, MusiCares, and PETA are a few other organizations she advocates for. Missy Elliott is a big supporter of the arts and animals as well. Besides her being a supporter and protector of women, Elliott was an avid advocate of spreading the awareness of AIDS. She did a commercial-free concert on AIDS day, gave away concert tickets to those who would be screened for AIDS, and did a commercial to spread the word. She has raised a lot of money to support the awareness of HIV and AIDS through many different events.
In conclusion Missy Elliotts ability to be an artist, producer, writer, visionary, and most importantly: herself, caused her to be known as one of the most influential trailblazers of the Hip Hop culture and Rap genre. Missy Elliotts actions, told women to dress how they want, love who they deem worthy, and to know their worth and power no matter what society tells them. Her musical talent and character has inspired many people to be better and/or to follow their dreams.
Aswad, Jem. “Missy Elliott, Musical Trailblazer and Video Pioneer, on Working Her Way to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.” Variety, Variety, 8 Nov. 2021, variety.com/2021/music/news/missy-elliott-hollywood-walk-of-fame-1235107088/#!
Nielsen, Euell A. “Missy Elliott (1971- ) .” Black Past, 3 May 2021, www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/people-african-american-history/missy-elliott-1971/.
“Missy Elliott: Charity Work, Events, and Causes.” Look to the Stars, www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/missy-elliott#causes.
“Missy Elliott.” Missy Elliott | Songwriters Hall of Fame, American Airlines, www.songhall.org/profile/missy_elliott.
“Music Icon Missy Elliott to Be Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.” Hollywood Walk of Fame, 29 Oct. 2021, walkoffame.com/press_releases/missyelliott/.
Varner, Jeff. “Missy Elliott: The Heavy-Hittn’ Donor.” BORGEN Magazine, 6 Aug. 2015, www.borgenmagazine.com/missy-elliott-heavy-hittn-donor/.