Missy Elliott made everyone lose control when she performed at the 2019 Video Music Awards and took home the MTV Video Vanguard Award.
On Monday, the hip-hop legend ― who hadn’t performed at the show in 16 years ― brought down the house with a throwback-inspired set, invoking looks from her music videos for “Lose Control,” “The Rain,” “Get Ur Freak On” and more.
Later, Elliott received the honor of the Vanguard Award on the heels of fellow recipients including Pink, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez.
“I love y’all. I promised I wouldn’t cry this time because I cry at every awards show,” an emotional Elliott said as she held her Moonman. “This Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me. I’ve worked diligently for over two decades and I never thought that I would be standing up here receiving this award.”
Elliott dedicated her award to the dance community all around the world “because when y’all get on the stage with these artists, y’all are not just props,” she explained.
“Y’all are the icing on the cake. Y’all are the beat to the heart. I dedicate this to every dance community out there,” she said, before bringing a few of her younger dancers up to the microphone to celebrate them as “the next generation.”
The response to Elliott’s speech and performance was, naturally, out of this world, with fans tweeting up a storm about her greatness:
Of the achievement, Bruce Gillmer, the head of music and music talent at Viacom and co-brand head of MTV International, said in a statement earlier this month that Missy Elliott’s influence on the music landscape was “indelible” and “her creative vision across production, performance and songwriting is unmatched.”
Elliott tweeted an emotional thank you after the news was released, telling her fans she’s “humbly grateful” and “crying happy tears.”
Last year’s winner, Lopez, caused quite a stir on social media after she accepted the award. Many thought it wasn’t Lopez’s time to receive the award and tweeted that Elliott was due.
As Natelegé Whaley noted in a HuffPost retrospective of Elliott’s journey to the award last week, the MTV Video Vanguard Award was first given to David Bowie in 1984 and has since “gone to several artists whose legendary work arrived long after Elliott’s reign.”
“For this reason, fans felt Elliott’s trophy was long overdue and took their grievances to social media, expressing the sentiment that MTV was erasing her legacy as a black female artist who creates imaginative music videos,” she wrote.
This story has been updated with remarks from Elliott.