MTV describes the star as, “a groundbreaking solo superstar, pioneering producer, songwriter, singer, rapper and cultural icon who has transformed the global music scene.”
According to Variety, the rapper, producer, and songwriter will perform live at the awards show for the first time in 16 years.
Here’s what you need to know:
Missy Elliott is the First Female Rapper to Receive the Award
According to biography.com, Missy Elliott was born Melissa Arnette Elliott on July 1, 1971, in Portsmouth, Virginia. She grew up in an abusive household and was sexually assaulted at the age of 8. She reportedly wrote to Michael and Janet Jackson, begging them to come and save her.
“I cried every night about that,” Missy told The Guardian newspaper in 2001. “Now I’m friends with Janet. But sometimes we’ll be in a club together and I’ll find myself thinking ‘But you never wrote me back when I needed you.'”
Elliott went on to become a five-time Grammy Award winner and the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She has sold more than 30 million records worldwide, thanks to hits like “Work It,” “Get Ur Freak On” and “WTF (Where They From).” In addition, she is the only female rapper to have six studio albums certified platinum. And now Elliot will receive an award named after the man she wrote to as a child.
“Missy’s impact on the music landscape is indelible,” Bruce Gillmer, MTV Intl. co-brand head and Viacom music and music talent head said in a press release. “Her creative vision across production, performance, and songwriting is unmatched.”
MTV Considered Changing the Name of the Award This Year
The controversial HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which made headlines in March 2019, featured Wade Robson and James Safechuck detailing the alleged sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the beloved Michael Jackson. As a result, MTV considered changing the name of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, according to Page Six.
However, the network decided not to change the name of the award, which is described as MTV’s highest honor. It came as a shock to some, including Robson.
“I don’t personally need MTV to do one thing or the other, but as child abuse survivors all over the world watch to see whether society will support them or not if they have the courage to come forward, in that regard, it’s an unfortunate choice,” Robson told TheWrap.
Jennifer Lopez Was Last Year’s Winner of MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award
“Thank you to @MTV and everyone for the most memorable and epic night!!” Lopez wrote after receiving the award at the 2018 MTV VMA’s.
According to MTV, Elliott will be joining the prestigious list of past Video Vanguard Award winners, which includes stars like Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Guns N’ Roses, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Rihanna and P!nk.
Not only will this year’s MTV VMA’s be a special one for Elliot, but she has also had many fruitful appearances in the past. She has won seven Moon Person trophies, including Video of the Year in 2003 for “Work It” and Best Hip-Hop Video in 2005 for “Lose Control,” according to MTV.
Aside from accepting awards, Elliott has performed on the VMA stage three times before, including a medley of “Get Ur Freak On” and “One Minute Man” in 2001, and an appearance in 2006 during which she recreated her “The Rain” look in tribute to longtime collaborator Hype Williams, who received that year’s Vanguard Award, MTV said.