Missy Elliott became the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday night in New York.
The 47-year-old has written her own hit songs and penned lyrics for Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, Ariana Grande, Busta Rhymes and many others. The rap icon known as Misdemeanor was honored by former President Barack Obama in a taped tribute at the ceremony.
So many Amazing gifts today i am so humbly grateful😩🙏🏾 a gift from my mommy for getting inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame tonight🥰❤️🤗 I Love you Mommy! pic.twitter.com/aW1zYKbE8T— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) June 13, 2019
“Missy, I want to thank you for all of your trailblazing ways,” he said. “Thank you not for just sharing your gift with the world, but for being an advocate for so many people out there, especially young girls who are still figuring out how to make their voices heard.”
Holding back tears, Elliott, who has fought health problems related to Graves disease in recent years, told the audience: “Every time I come up to a podium even with all the work that I’ve done, I don’t know, and I’m assuming it’s just God, I don’t know why I am here... I am thankful.”
“Every time I come up to a podium ... even with all the work that I’ve done, I don’t know, and I’m assuming it’s just God, I don’t know why I am here,” she said with tears in her eyes as the audience erupted with cheers and applause. “I want to say one thing to the writers, to the upcoming writers, ‘Do not give up.’ We all go through writer’s block. Sometimes you just have to walk away from a record and come back to it. But don’t give up because I’m standing here. And this is big for hip-hop, too.”
Elliott entered the 2019 class alongside heavyweights in the music industry, including legendary British singer Cat Stevens and country-folk icon John Prine.
“I love songwriting. I love to paint myself into a corner and have to write my way out of it,” said Prine, who performed onstage with Bonnie Raitt. “And when I co-write I always try to pick out a really good restaurant, so if things ain’t happening in the first 30 minutes, just go: ‘Hey man, let’s go get some lunch.’”