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!