Missy Elliott’s VMA Vanguard Award medley performance was amazing

2019 MTV VMA Press Room

I tweeted this last night but it’s really true: Missy Elliott is truly the most unproblematic fave. No one has a beef with her. She doesn’t have a beef with anyone. She’s one of the most creative and interesting people in music and she’s been a pioneer and icon for decades. She seems like a genuinely nice and low-key person in real life too. So everyone – every single person – was happy that MTV decided to give Missy the Vanguard Award. That meant that Missy got to organize a medley performance and it was… incredible. TRY NOT TO JAM OUT TO THIS. YOU CANNOT.

I almost cried when “The Rain” started. “Work It” and “Get Your Freak On” and everything else. Plus a UFO. Incredible dancing and a dozen costume changes too. This is perfect.

Missy was very emotional for the Vanguard Award presentation. Here’s her speech:

The only “controversy” here is that originally, MTV named this award the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. MTV never officially renamed the award – even given the resurgence of awareness around MJ’s pedophilia – but MTV seemed to drop MJ’s name in all of their promotional stuff around the VMAs. Missy still called the award by its name, saying: “This Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means everything to me. I have worked diligently for over two decades, and I never thought I’d be standing up here receiving this award. It means so much to me.” I’m… fine with it. Michael Jackson committed those crimes, not Missy Elliott. And she’s obviously the kind of person who can separate the art from the man/predator.

2019 MTV VMA Press Room

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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46 Responses to “Missy Elliott’s VMA Vanguard Award medley performance was amazing”

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  1. Lucy says:

    Bless her, for what she did last night and for all the joy she’s given us.

  2. smee says:

    ❤ her – still got it!

    • StartupSpouse says:

      I love that she looks like she is having so much fun performing. Look at her smile during Get Ur Freak On. It’s infectious!

      • savu says:

        That’s exactly it. She looked like she was having a BLAST. Like somebody enjoying their work and enjoying the moment to be recognized for it.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I have always loved her vibrant energy. She was radiant last night. That would have been amazing to see live and in the venue.

  3. msn says:

    I woke up to this today and it put a smile on my heart immediately! I too freaked out when I heard The Rain intro…seeing Missy in that iconic rubber suit omg **feels**.

    I loved her speech and I appreciate that she called the award what it is -it’s not for her to embarrass her hosts and call out the bullshit of the problematic artist it’s named after.
    I also loved hearing her mention Crissles and Kid Fury of The Read podcast, they’ve been vocal for years abut Missy deserving that award ahead of J-Lo and whoever else received it -Missy had guest tickets for Crissles & Kid Fury which is so sweet and typical of her I think.

    ALSO, Alyson Roder ZOMIGAWD that was so special <3

    • Osito says:

      OMG, I can’t wait for the read this week. Crissle and West are bout to die!!

    • Rice says:

      Alyson Roder!!! I never knew her name but I wanted to be her (even though I was a grown-ass woman when Work It came out). She is AWESOME!!!

      Kaiser was right! I jammed out hard!!

  4. Nev says:

    Amazing performance!

  5. Snazzy says:

    Ok that was amazing.

  6. Katen says:

    Her performance was great. I really wish artists would stop siding with Michael Jackson over his accusers though, which is what she was doing by making a point of calling the renamed award by its old one.

    I get it. He’s an icon and an inspiration to many artists but he was also an abuser and I personally don’t believe you can separate crimes of that caliber from the artist.

    • Léna says:

      I agree with you. Just because it’s “art” doesn’t mean we should excuse or separate the behavior (especially criminal!) of the artist from the art.

      But I love Missy Elliott so much, I don’t know what to think of her calling it by the full name.

    • Kathleen King says:

      Maybe she does it out of respect for Janet Jackson. Seems, from what they both say here, that they have a genuine and deep friendship.

  7. CharliePenn says:

    Who would have thought way back in the day that she would still be going strong!? I’m so happy for her. She has a kind of peaceful presence around her, even when she’s singing about something crazy.

    That little clip of Taylor Swift in there made me ugh so uncomfortable. Missy is like the most authentic kind of performer, and Taylor is the awkward, fake-feeling opposite lol.

    • Dtab says:

      I thought the exact same about Tswift… She is so inauthentic and has no rythmn at all

    • Kathleen King says:

      I loved the photo (video??) bomb of Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband behind Taylor, though! lol

    • Derrière says:

      Agreed if you’re not yelling every single word of these songs, you’re not a Missy fan. And if you’re not a fan, who are you? Haha

  8. N says:

    It was awesome! Worth the wait which gets exhausting.

  9. Sayrah says:

    That was awesome! Really pumped me up for a big day ahead.

  10. Emily says:

    Loved seeing Alyson Stoner dancing again!! I’m around the same age, so I always loved seeing a kid the same age as me dance in Missy’s videos.

    • TIFFANY says:

      That was her. I thought I was seeing things.

      Time is just flying.

    • Thaisajs says:

      That was so amazing. Cool that they included her in that. Why can’t Missy Elliott do the Super Bowl halftime show? For that, I would skip the Puppy Bowl.

  11. Brittney says:

    OMG is that a grow field set for Pass That Dutch??

    She is perfect.

  12. TIFFANY says:

    If that was the performance for the Vanguard, can you imagine the show for her Hall of Fame induction?

  13. Juju says:

    Missy is a national treasure and seeing her perform brings me joy! She has always placed more value in being interesting and creative than in being forced into traditional female boxes. It’s not that she’s not beautiful (and I have nothing against women that work that angle) but you can tell she gets fired up by innovating and looking at things from a new angle, whether it’s music, or videos or fashion. (Example: the inflatable suit left an impression on me in my tween years. Here was a woman taking up MORE space in the world when we’ve been conditioned to shrink ourselves at all costs. Amazing). I am inspired by her creativity and love the perspective that she shares with the world!

  14. Jess says:

    She is amazing and her medley gave me chills. And the fact that the little girl from her 90s videos performed during the medley was super cool. I lover her and just can’t believe it took a genius like her so many years to get this award. Yet again, black women are overlooked, minimized, ignored for far too long.

    • Tiffany says:

      THIS !!!

      We are living in a time where Justin Timberdouche got this award before she did.

  15. Seraphina says:

    I love LOVE Missy. A true artist, performer and musician. When I watch her perform, I know what it would be like to watch Van Gogh paint. She is genius! Long live Missy and I hope she keeps spinning out tunes.

  16. KM says:

    She absolutely NEEDS to do the Superbowl halftime show.

  17. Rose says:

    I LOVE Missy.

    I hated the cuts to the audience dancing. I wanted to see the whole performance. That’s my only criticism and it’s MTVs fault.

    • Scal says:

      This-I don’t need to see random celebs or audience members. And they seemed to always cut away at the best parts!

  18. Naddie says:

    I didn’t see her performing , neither I need to, cause it’s Missy Elliott and we need her back, everywhere and all the time.

  19. TQB says:

    I admit to not getting her music at the time. She is so creative and pushed the edge. Now I hear it and it’s not a nostalgia hit – it’s like, DAMN, this is GOOD. This is just so good. Also, she is a delight as a human being. She supports others and brings joy. More Missy Elliott. MORE.

  20. Michael says:

    They say her in the 3rd row. Not much respect there

  21. savu says:

    It. Was. Amazing. She looked so full of joy to be there, and it was contagious while you’re watching. Alyson Stoner was awesome, so were all the other dancers. I was her age when Work It came out, and it was so cool to see someone young in her videos. She’s talked before about how Missy was very focused on the kids, used the clean versions on set when they were there, etc. And now she’s an adult and gets to shake it like an adult 😁 I loved it! I loved that she gave the dancers such a big shout-out at the end of her speech.

    THIS STUFF HOLDS. UP. I love her so much. Man what a true original.

  22. Ash says:

    She is so awesome! Glad to see her back.

  23. sassbr says:

    Haha, they cut to Taylor Swift dancing like twice during the montage and she works so hard to look like she is enjoying herself, I’m dead. The flashes to the celebrities who REALLY got into it like Bebe Rexa were precious.

  24. Ann says:

    Holy cow that was so cool! God I love Missy!!!!! Lol at Taylor dancing along. She looked like such a dork but that’s ok. Everyone was having fun, me included watching from home. I’m going to have Missy on repeat for a week after this.

  25. TheOriginalMia says:

    Love Missy always and forever! Her performance was off the chart! Could done 100% without those cutaways, especially to people with no rhythm “dancing” for the camera. This was about Missy, not other celebs.

  26. Fluffy Princess says:

    Wow. Just Wow. Missy brings the magic and the imagination — She is the QUEEN! All of her music holds up, and this performance and her set design and dancers — This was one for the books. One of the all-time best medley performances I have ever seen, hands down.

    All Hail, Missy!

  27. Charfromdarock says:

    Missy is spectacular!

  28. ME says:

    I like how Alyson Stoner came back to dance on stage all grown up ! Anyone remember her from some of Missy’s videos? She was just a small kid then but boy could she dance!

  29. OuiOkay says:

    I like to say I choose to separate the art from the artist. It’s not that some people can or can’t it’s a choice and a viewpoint. I respect those who choose not to.
    One reason I choose to is that some of the art is not just made by that one person anyways. Almost all songs and movies are made with help from many talented people who get paid. And in many cases the singer isn’t the one paid the most (correct me if I’m wrong)