Missy Elliott: Makeup Muse and Hip-Hop Heroine

I’ve noticed something quite disappointing on some of my favorite gossip sites.

Every time a post on Missy Elliott is made – photos of her at a party, or awards show, whatever; some ig’nant commenters are unable to say anything but negative stuff. It always comes down to Missy’s sexuality, her appearance, or her weight. Totally reinforcing the criticism leveled by Dr. Dionne Stephens in my original Hip Hop Heroines post. I can’t stand it. This site is about celebrating women (and occasionally men) all shades of beautiful, regardless of size or sexual orientation.

Missy Elliott is a musical genius, and a makeup pioneer.

She deserves maximum respect, in my opinion.

Missy’s also my role model for the incredible transformation she’s managed to achieve. I’ve loved her since she was at her heaviest – the videos from Supa Dupa Fly were a revelation to a young girl struggling with weight issues.

In one of my absolute favorite videos, Beep Me 911, she’s large, clad in a shiny, gold queen costume, and crooning while doing the robot. (I. Love. That. Video!) Compare that to a recent video like We Run This, where she’s still wearing gold lame, but this time around it’s a marching band majorette outfit that flatters her newly svelte figure, and lampooning herself as a stick figure.

Both Missy and Timbaland made a commitment to changing their bodies, and they should be applauded for the effort. She’ll probably never be a size six, but Missy looks damn good and I’m sure she’s been working hard. (My former co-worker, the very cool and talented Mosi Reeves, interviewed Timbaland and found him at the peak of a serious interest in bodybuilding. The evidence is obvious in the video for Nelly Furtado’s Promiscuous).

What I love most about Missy is her courage. She’ll do whatever pops into her amazingly creative mind, looks and the perceptions of others be damned. If that means appearing in a black latex inflatable suit (in her first video!) so be it.

If that’s going to find her dressed like a scarecrow and doing the river dance in a cornfield like in the Pass That Dutch video, it’s cool. “Hey, hey, hey – I’m what’s happening!”

If it means hanging upside down in a strait-jacket as she does in Teary Eyed, that’s fine by Missy. Speaking of that last song, let’s take a moment to appreciate Missy’s slow jams. I think people overlook her abilities in that sphere. Take Away is one of my favorite jams of all time.

She’s also queen of the fast slow jam, case in point All In My Grill. Missy’s music is so catchy, I’ll find myself singing lyrics I absolutely can’t get behind. Like, “if you want me, where’s my dough? Give me money, buy me clothes.” Or, “Is that your car, the SK-8, are you riding alone, can I be your date? Got some friends, can they come too? Can you hook them up with some boys like you?” from Hot Boyz.

Ahem. I ain’t saying she’s a golddigger… but if I do have any issue with Missy, it’s her lyrics. She definitely stays in a safe zone of perpetuating hip-hop stereotypes, or rapping intentional gibberish.

But when I stop to consider just how many of my all-time favorite songs she’s produced, co-written, or sang the hook on, I can’t be mad at Missy.

Seriously, I want to say thanks for all the hits by Tweet, Total, 702 (y’all remember Steelo?) Nicole Wray (now THAT’s a video I haven’t seen in years!), Lil Mo, SWV, and of course, Aaliyah). She got Luda to spit one of my favorite guest verses on Gossip Folks, and she’s doing great things with Ciara. Missy’s more-or-less behind my soundtrack to the Nineties, and she’s still doing it today.

She’s extremely interested in pushing her music, her videos, and her look ever forward. Check out the She’s a Bitch video. Her makeup is off the chain. She’s bald, rocking rhinestone eyebrows, and whatever else makeup genius Billy B came up with. (He’s responsible for the fierce looks in most of her early videos, including The Rain, Sock It 2 Me, Hot Boyz, Beep Me 911, and One Minute Man).

Missy is just beyond fierce. When she says We Run This, Hit ‘Em With Da Hee, or I’m Really Hot, she isn’t just idly boasting. By the way, I love how she mixes the beat for K-Os’s Superstar in there at the end (If y’all don’t know about K-Os, you need to find out).

Supposedly, she’s concentrating on different projects now, like a biopic. I still dream of the day that Missy and Timbo head back to the studio to make a whole album together. Hell, they can even let Magoo drop a few bars. I just miss the old flava, when Missy stayed on rotation in my CD player.

It’s Friday, so here’s one of my favorite videos.

The beat is hot, the concept is totally out there, her makeup is flawless, and Lil Kim is wearing more clothes than I’ve ever seen her wear. Sock it To Me is the best!

I’ll be posting some over the weekend – I got tagged to participate in the “5 things you don’t know about me” post that’s circulating throughout the blogosphere. So I’m thinking long and hard about what I want to make public, and who I’ll be tagging next! Got any questions or suggestions?

Happy Friday, y’all!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. You’re right, her makeup game is tight! Remember a couple of years ago Suede magazine made an image of her out of makeup and makeup containers?
    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2004/12/07/arts/07sued_ready.html

    Loved it!

  2. honey Billy B. is no joke.i think people sleep on her because she’s not a size two, with her breast hanging out. look at how many bobble heads get attention for nothing, but crude behaviour.

  3. supa dupa fly is my favorite album.untill today i’m a still a big fan of missy,She’s My Role Model!i like her no matter Her weight.She’s Beautifull!!!

  4. BlackHoney says:

    I have always wondered why Missy isn’t given her props as a hip-hop style icon. Missy has had some of the flyest hair-cuts ever seen. Her make-up is always amazing. To me, she defines b-girl style. She is also amazingly talented. How many moguls can really sing, rap, dance and produce? Not pharrell, and sure as hell not diddy.

    Does the media concentrate on that? They are just concerned with whom she (and Latifah) share their beds. Sad indeed.

  5. coiltastic says:

    sock it 2 me and beep me 911 are my two favorite videos by her. and yea her slow songs are hot!! As well as when she throws in some back up on something she produced for another artists (old school destiny’s child). But I do love her lyrics. She is one damn good lyricist. I don’t think many people catch on to alot of what she is really saying. I’m like you as well, liking her older stuff more. And I have most of those artists you named on my computer now that I’m about to blast lol.

  6. I have always respected Missy’s beauty “gangsta.” Regardless of her often questionable fashion choices, Missy’s face is always put together. I have never seen a photo or clip of her when her makeup wasn’t flawless. That I will give to her.

    But, some of her music I just can’t get with. I’ve never been a fan of hers, but I never really minded her stuff. Most of her songs aren’t lyrically saying anything, but if you have a good beat and a catchy hook, I’ll bop my head to it. But when I heard her song with the chorus “P-ssy don’t fail me now/I gotta turn this brotha out/so he don’t want nobody else” I was done. I just can’t get with that, especially because I believe that she’s smarter than that. She’s talented and beautiful and didn’t make her career selling her sex, so I was very disappointed to hear that coming from her.

  7. love, love missy, great choice! why you hurt me was a great track on supa dupa fly. she is always promotin’ self worth and never conforms to societies norm, gotta love her! and what ever happened to her reality show on upn, i hope she brings it back.

  8. anonymous says:

    Missy represents Virginia well!!!

  9. For a very long time Missy was on my burnt (yes burnt) cd, this song, sock it to me, MINUTE MAN AND THE REMIX, and one almost gospel song that I dont remember cant find on limewire and my kids wont remind me. Use to play it on the way to school for them. Love Missy’s music. Bella you always pick the so un-obvious to everyone else but so obvious to those who LISTEN and SEE. NOT look and hear. SMOOOCHES AND HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, GOOD LUCK N YOUR TAG!!!

  10. Hey Afrobella, Iwant to know more info on K-OS ,Because I think his music is cool.I use to get him mixed up with Will I Am . Who is he?

  11. jerseybred says:

    I love Missy’s lyrics, I believe their very tongue-in-cheek, Great Choice.

  12. Hey Bella,

    I too dig Missy and think that she can almost do no wrong. I think that she looked absolutely stunning in the “Teary-Eyed” video, very beautiful. But, one thing about K-OS, Missy didn’t sample K-OS, they both sampled Soho “Hot Music”.

  13. And another thing, the comments left on snarky gossip blogs by even snarkier people are truly atrocious. It saddens me that people get such a kick out a being mean to people they don’t know. God forbid someone gains 2 pounds, or makes a poor fashion choice or romantic match, gets caught without any makeup, or simply gets photograped in a unflattering position. It’s realy easy to talk smack about some celebrity when you’re posting an anonymous comment.

  14. @tadeja, i’m with you, how can people express so much hate for a person they don’t know. i can only imagine how they judge people in real life, i don’t think they realize that they are really exposing themselves.

  15. Love Missy..she’s fearless. I really want to see her dressed up, though. I mean, she’s already fabulous but I’m waiting to see her rock some stilettos one of these days!

  16. Jeftah says:

    Really gorgeous!!! you are fantastic, i like everything about you. Ure jus….., …
    ………..fabulous. I like you Missy

Trackbacks

  1. [...] no secret around here — Missy Elliott has been one of my beauty inspirations for a while now. The magic of Billy B made her features come alive in the earliest videos from Supa Dupa Fly. I [...]

Speak Your Mind

*