Real queens salute real queens, and the audience at Essence’s ninth annual Black Women In Music got to witness that firsthand when entertainment mogul Janet Jackson presented a fellow music legend, Missy Elliott, with her Visionary Award.
And although Missy knew she would be honored with the accolade, she had no idea Janet’s presentation and poignant words would move her to tears in the process.
On Thursday night (January 25), the youngest Jackson family sibling took the stage to share a speech on Missy’s well-deserved recognition before handing off the trophy.
“Some rhyme, some rap, some act, some choreograph, some write hit songs, some create whole new sounds,” she said of Missy’s wide-ranged talents. “Some women are able to make her mark in some of these fields, but there’s only one woman who has made her mark in all of these fields. “Not only have you made your mark, but she’s done so with boldness and courage.”
A clip from the speech captured Missy’s tearful reaction to the Unbreakable artist’s heartfelt thoughts, a tender moment that nearly brought Janet to tears herself. As those around Missy passed her pieces of tissue, consoling her emotional response, she then joined the stage with her longtime industry friend to accept the award.
“That was a surprise,” Page Six reports of Missy’s acceptance speech. “I’ve known Janet over a decade and this is not just someone I do music with. I can call Janet any time of night and she will listen. The times that I may have felt like giving up, she’s always gave me an encouraging word.”
Missy added that her climb to the top wasn’t without struggle, as her well-versed talents as a musician and producer along with her unorthodox aesthetic presented challenges of their own. And just as she was able to break the mold staying true to her untraditional, nonconformist, renegade self, she wanted the rest of the women to know they could, too.
“I want all of you women in here to know that you’re beautiful,” she said. “You gotta believe in yourself because there are going to be times that people tell you [that] you can’t do it, or you don’t look the part. But I am a walking testimony.”
And in staying true to herself, Missy made sure she saluted her Blackness before leaving the stage as well.
“I wouldn’t want to be any other color but black,” she added. “I’m Black and I’m proud. There’s something about our DNA that can’t be taught, it comes from a different place.”
Spoken like a true queen.
See a snippet of Janet’s speech and Missy’s tear-jerking moment in the clip below.
(Photo: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)