Hip Hop Icon receives a hometown honor
Rapper and Hip Hop artist Missy Elliott is being honored with a street in her name in her hometown. On Tuesday, August 9th, the City Council members of Portsmouth, Virginia voted unanimously to change the name of a 1-mile (1.6 km) section of McLean Street to Missy Elliott Boulevard. Portsmouth resident Erin Carter who is a fan of Elliott made the request for a name change.
Carter said Missy should be honored by her hometown for having the courage "to take on the world stage" and added “It’s time for her hometown to honor her accomplishments as a music icon,” Carter said. “It will be a testament (of) our city greatness that Portsmouth was the place that launched her career.”
Early life in Portsmouth was difficult for Missy Elliott
Elliott was born in Portsmouth, on July 1, 1971, at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center She is the only child of Ronnie and Patricia Elliott and began singing in church at an early age. Missy found out, however, that her life would soon become one filled with difficulties. Missy says her family was very poor and at the age of eight she was sexually abused by a teenage cousin. Later Elliott and her mom had to flee from her father due to domestic abuse.
Missy says she was so frightened that her father would kill her mother while she was away that she refused sleepovers at the homes of friends. Missy has shared that during one violent incident, Ronnie dislocated Patricia's shoulder and on another occasion, he pulled out a gun and Elliott begged her father not to kill her mother. After this Patricia and her daughter left home and stayed with family until moving to the Hodges Ferry area of Portsmouth. Elliott says she occasionally speaks to her father but has not forgiven him for abusing her mother.
The beginning of a stellar music career
In 1990 Missy graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School which has been renamed Manor High School and in 2019 the entertainer donated $25,000 to the school. In 1991 she formed an all-female group called Fayze which was later changed to Sista. After working with other artists Elliot released her debut album Supa Dupa Fly in 1997 and was nominated for a Grammy Award. She has been dubbed the "Queen of Hip Hop," the Queen of Rap," and the First Lady of Hip Hop.
Elliot has been applauded because from the beginning of her career her music addressed gender equality, feminism, body positivity, and sex positivity. Both The Guardian and The Observer consider Missy to be America's first Black female music mogul, as in 2001 she gained total control over her music and her image
Missy Elliott Blvd will be located in a new business district between Airline Boulevard and Greenwood Drive in Portsmouth. It is also adjacent to the Victory Crossing Shopping Center and near Tidewater Community College and the future Portsmouth Rivers Casino. Congratulations to Ms. Elliott for a job well done in her career and being honored by the city where she grew up.