Young artists ruled the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards with top prizes going to 20-somethings Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X, plus teenager Billie Eilish. But veteran hip-hop star Missy Elliott schooled the young’uns when she performed a medley of her hits before accepting the honorary Video Vanguard Award for her body of work. She’s the first female rapper ever to get that award. Watch her performance above, and check out the complete list of VMA winners here.
Missy Elliott’s pioneering career included a Video of the Year VMA victory for “Work It” in 2003. She also won the top prize in 2001 as a featured artist on the “Moulin Rouge” cover of “Lady Marmalade” with Pink, Mya, Christina Aguilera and Lil Kim. She has also won four Grammys including Best Music Video for “Lose Control” in 2006. But her last studio album was “The Cookbook” way back in 2005. So when she dropped a new EP on August 23, the five-track “Iconology,” it was something of a comeback for the hip-hop trendsetter.
The Video Vanguard Award “means so much to me,” she said in her acceptance speech (watch the whole thing below). “I have worked diligently for over two decades, and I never thought that I would be standing up here.” She also shouted out some of her strongest music and video influences including Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Peter Gabriel and Madonna, and also “the dance community all around the world because when y’all get on the stage with these artists y’all are not just props. Y’all are the icing on the cake. Y’all are the beat to the heart.”