Women In Music

Missy Elliott Accepts Innovator Award at Billboard Women in Music: Read Her Full Speech

Ciara, Missy Elliott
Tawni Bannister for Billboard

Ciara backstage with Missy Elliott at Billboard's Women In Music 2015 on Lifetime at Cipriani 42nd Street on Dec. 11, 2015 in New York City.

Earning the Billboard Women in Music Innovator award, the one-and-only Missy Elliott accepted the honor with an improvised, heartfelt speech.

Not missing a beat, as always expected from Missy, the “WTF” MC graced the stage with tears and humility. A self-professed “mush head,” Missy nodded to the “bold, fierce, sassy” women in the room, thanking everyone from Timbaland to her mother to her late friend and former collaborator Aaliyah. Missy kept it real with jokes and bold professions galore, confessing, “I dreamed of days like this.”

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Read the full speech below:

"Instead of me writing it down, I just want to go off the top of my head. First of all, I'm so humbly grateful. I've been in this industry for over 20 years, and I stand here for all the women who may have been told 'you don't fit the mold, you're not good enough, you won't make it.' Look at me, I'm here, and I'm standing here for y'all because I see so many powerful women in here. Bold, fierce, sassy, and I want y'all to know that I stand here, and I was told a lot of those things, and I'm sorry that I'm...I'm such a mush head. I dreamed of days like this. I was that kid that used to write on my mother's walls and my family would come over and ask her, 'Is your child OK?' I just had songs written all over the walls, and as I got in high school, my friends, I think they thought I was creative because I was able to change my F to a B, and as time went on, I realized I was different and unique and not a follower.

"I'm sorry, y'all, you know, I done cried so much, I got my bottom lashes in my eyes. I want y'all to continue to be creative and don't be scared to take risks. I've had to take a lot of risks, and being a woman in this industry for me, as an artist, a writer and producer, I've had my ups and downs. There's times that I have wanted to give up, but God had another plan for me, and if it wouldn't have been for Him, I wouldn't be standing here. I just want to say that I thank y'all. I thank Billboard, and I'm sorry, I'm just doing this the old-school way, I might just pull out a scroll on y'all real quick. But you know how you get up here and you start saying people's names, then you get out of the event, everybody calls you like, 'You ain't say my name, but I was there,' so you know...I'm trying to make sure I don't forget anybody.

"I want to thank my mother who has been my backbone, and she has loved me not because I became a celebrity or what I would do for her. She has just loved me unconditionally, and I want to thank her. I want to thank everybody in Virginia where I'm from, two up, two down, 757. I want to thank Timbaland. That is my other side of my brain, and we were broke together and we made money together. We have cussed each other out. We have hugged each other. I love him through thick and thin. Pharrell, I love you. Another one of my VA family. Magoo, Mona Scott Young, who has held me down from top, Karen Body, Yandy over there, my whole glam squad. I got Misa Glow, Angie, Atlantic Records, I love y'all. Where y'all at? Holla! I see y'all! Dave Meyers, Hi Hat, Hype Williams, June, Billy B, Sylvia Rhone, I love you. I don't know where you at. My fans, the ME addicts, Billboard once again, and I want to thank Janet, because she's been someone who I could call at any time.

"Y'all don't know, I've been through so much. Mentally and physically, I have went through a lot, so standing here today means so much. I thank you Janet, and lastly, I want to thank all those women who came before me, and I don't know if y'all know how important that is to me because they kicked down the door for me to be able to walk through. So, I don't stand here to take the credit. Because of them, those ones before me, I thank you, and I thank my peers and those after me, but those ones before me, I want to tell y'all that I love y'all so much and Aaliyah, I hope you're looking down and that you are proud of me. I miss you much and Ciara, I love you so much, sis. I thank you, I thank you. I love you so much. And I thank y'all once again."

2015 Billboard Women in Music