Missy Elliott on God: I ‘felt like he had his hands on me from a child’

TENNIS : Wimbledon 2019  - Grande Bretagne - 14/07/2019

Missy Elliott is back… but not really. She covers the latest issue of Marie Claire, and it reads partly like a hype piece for music which will eventually come, and partly it reads like a “where are they now” investigative piece on long-lost pop stars. Missy never really went anywhere, although she only seems to pop up every now and then. So what has she been doing? She’s working on music, but mostly she just lives a peaceful lowkey life, takes care of her mom and goes to church a lot. You can read the full Marie Claire piece here. Some highlights:

Receiving an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music: “I went to the side of my grandmother’s house where I used to play church. I used to shout and sing all kinds of gospel songs. Ones I had made up, ones that existed in the church…I was at that place…. God is real because I went to that place and felt like he had his hands on me from a child.”

Her life sounds so lowkey: “I was just going, going, going. It wasn’t resonating what was happening. After I did the Super Bowl [in 2015], my friends called me and they are like, ‘So, what you about to do?’ I’m here mopping my floor, and I got to wash the dogs. And they are like, ‘What? You just finished doing the Super Bowl.’ And the same thing happened…I was in the car with Michelle Obama [for ‘Carpool Karaoke’ in 2016], and they called me like, ‘Girl, we got to celebrate; that’s huge!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m watching a movie on Netflix.’ Now that I’ve had a chance to slow down, I look back at stuff, and I look back at my ‘She’s a Bitch’ video [1999], and at the time I didn’t even think about it. But I look at it now and I’m like, ‘This is still so many years ahead.’”

The years she struggled before fame & success: “Trust me, I was broke. And my family would be like, ‘You better find something to do.’ They told me to go in the Army. I’m like, ‘I’m too fat to go in the Army. Where I am running to?’ Everything just seemed so impossible at the time because we didn’t have the technology to be able to reach out and put your stuff online and people get a chance to see it. So you have to be at the right place at the right time.”

On her mother: “I told my mother, ‘I’m going to buy you a house, and I’m going to buy you an elevator incase your legs start hurting.’ And she would laugh and be like, ‘All right, okay.’ But when I got my first check, I didn’t even buy myself a house first. I bought my mother a house. Put a Bible in the soil and built it from the ground up.”

Sharing her wisdom: “Whenever God decides to call, I want to have that legacy of being able, not just music or videos that people thought were great. Mary [J. Blige], Faith [Evans], Puff [Sean Combs], all of them taught me so many things. I want to be that person that people say, ‘Hey, Missy said she did it like this.’ If a billionaire told me they read 400 books to become a billionaire, I’m going, ‘Where is the Barnes & Noble at? Let me get 400 books.’ And just giving wisdom, because that blessing don’t come for you, like my grandma said, to keep it for yourself. It is to share. And hopefully I have done that. I do want to make the generation behind feel like, don’t be afraid, because we are in a time where so many people can be artists. Now you can just post up, and if it gets to the right person, then it’s just viral. I want to be able to encourage those who don’t go viral….A lot of people out there that have 452 or 100 followers may be talented. I want them to not feel like they have to do what everybody else is doing to gain that attention. Just be you. It’s going to catch hold somewhere.”

[From Marie Claire]

Over the years, a number of pop stars and R&B stars and country stars traded their guitars and touring life for the church. It feels like Missy is making that transition a little bit too – I love that she talks about still going into the studio and still making music, but will it ever come out? Probably not. Because that’s not exactly where her heart is anymore. Maybe she would feel better if she made gospel music, or if she just gave up music to become a pastor or something like that. The Gospel of Missy, the Church of Missy.

Photo and cover courtesy of Marie Claire.

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20 Responses to “Missy Elliott on God: I ‘felt like he had his hands on me from a child’”

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  1. Lily says:

    Love her! Her “Respect Me” greatest hits cd is one of my all-time favorites :)
    Plus she can do it all…produce, sing, rap, dance…just amazingly smart and talented.

  2. JAC says:

    God I miss Missy.

    I like the new song she has with Lizzo, although it does remind me a bit of All About That Bass by Megan Trainor – it builds thicker girls up by calling skinny girls skinny hoes, which is a bit problematic.

  3. Slowsnow says:

    She sounds so naïve here! Very strange. How many people say to their parents when they’re young that they are going to buy them this and that? And end up never doing it for lack of means?! So lame.
    I love her style, her music, her uniqueness and I find her gorgeous. But boy does this kind of statement rub me the wrong way.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      What bugs me is the notion that “God” only has his hands on certain people. Same with the people who don’t get shot dead in a mass shooting and then proclaim that God was looking out for them. NO, you just got lucky! Same also goes for #Blessed. Eff that noise.
      But I do love me some Missy and she looks gorgeous in these photos. Love her eyeshadow.

      • Slowsnow says:

        Yes, she means no harm. I actually believe that it’s easier to deal with a great deal of luck to think that somehow you were helped rather than accepting that life is unfair. One can really turn the argument around like this. But people who say these things don’t realise how arrogant they sound, even when meaning good. This ‘god’ people talk about is really selective and keeps a close tab on everone on the planet!

      • perplexed says:

        I thought her statement about God sounded fine here. She simply said she feels like God had her hand on her head (paraphrasing); she’s not saying He doesn’t have His hand on other people’s heads. Obviously if she had said the latter or that she’s the only one with a special relationship with God, that would be rude. But if someone is just saying they have this feeling of peace with God because that’s genuinely what they feel, I think that’s ok.

      • Slowsnow says:

        @perplexed This kind of statement implies that in god stuff there is room for doubt and she got a priviledged contact: “God is real because I went to that place and felt like he had his hands on me from a child.”

      • Kitten says:

        I mean..she just sounds like every very religious person *shrugs*: God saved ME, God spared ME, God was good to ME..etc etc.

        The notion that God rewards some people and punishes others has always been central to most mainstream religions.

        The problem is that good people die, good people suffer, and awful, imaginable things happen to good, kind-hearted people ALL the time.
        But I guess that’s just “God’s Will” or maybe it’s just that “God Move in Mysterious Ways”…. or something.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Except that’s not what she said. At all. Not even close. It’s fine if you don’t believe in God or religion but its unfair to project onto her words something she didn’t say and didn’t even imply.

  4. Seraphina says:

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Missy. Such talent!!! Love her.

  5. msn says:

    Waouw that FACE!!! Way back in the Missy 1.0 era I remember her make up artist saying she would touch up Missy’s make up while she slept -I’m sure it was PR nonsense, but I’ve always thought of her as a gal who likes make up and lord knows she can carry a face fully beat to the gods…as can Lizzo and I would love to see both of them together in a MAC campaign <3
    I've heard Tempo a few times and it's delightful to have them on a track together.

  6. Kitten says:

    I’m an atheist but I didn’t mind what she said. She seems to have a healthy, positive relationship with her religion and that’s good enough for me. Sure beats all the white evangelicals who wield their religion like a sword, punishing anyone who they deem to be “ungodly”.

    She looks so stunning in these photos. She really knows how to give good face. I wish she’d come out with new music…we could all use some Missy right now.

  7. BeanieBean says:

    Fantastic cover.

  8. Nicegirl says:

    I love love love Missy Elliot. She is just SO good. And yes to the commenter suggestion she would be a great model for a makeup campaign. ITA.

  9. Dani says:

    She actually is on the new Lizzo song!! Heard it on the radio yesterday and it is AMAZING. I don’t mind what she said about God. Everyone has their own connection and relationship with religion and I respect hers. She seems very healthy about it and I wish her the best. She actually has talent and skill and none of that required her to be a cookie cutter woman.

  10. Fluffy Princess says:

    Missy Elliot is the ISH. She’s so, so talented. I wish she would do more of her own music, but if that’s not where her head is at, then you can’t force the art.

    She should be the face of a cosmetics campaign! Her make up has always been on point.

  11. JanetFerber says:

    I have always loved Missy and feel she’s always been extremely underrated. Talented AF. I’m glad to see her on the cover of Marie Claire (she looks fabulous), but I’d also LOVE her to make more music.

  12. Mo' Comments Mo' Problems says:

    I don’t think y’all understand that the church and gospel is part of a lot of African American families and people’s upbringings.. it’s played a part in so many Black musicians lives.. so that’s what I’m seeing here. Good for Missy to feel happy being in touch with her spirituality–whatever floats her boat–but I don’t think she’s gonna leave and become a minister. It’s just how so many people thank god, like check ‘em out at the BET awards, always thanking Jesus or sumn. Haha.

  13. titi says:

    My queen my queen! I adore her going on 20 years+. Such genius.

  14. bobafelty says:

    She’s on Lizzo’s (relatively) new song Tempo. I was so excited to Missy back and was hoping it wasn’t just a one-off cameo.