Missy Elliott will become the first female rapper to receive the Michael Jackson video vanguard award when the 36th annual Video Music Awards are presented on Aug. 26. This has been a year of firsts for Elliott. On June 13, she became the first female rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Notably, MTV is continuing to name the award in Jackson’s honor. This is the first time the award has been presented since HBO aired the documentary Leaving Neverland, in which two men charged that Jackson sexually assaulted them when they were boys. Some wondered if the network would drop Jackson’s name from the award.
Jackson won the vanguard award in 1988. The award was named in his honor three years later.
Elliott will also perform live on the VMAs. This will mark her first appearance on the VMAs stage since 2006.
This is the second year in a row that the vanguard award has gone to a female artist who was nearing 50. Elliott is 48. Jennifer Lopez was 49 when she won last year. These are the oldest solo artists, at the time of the presentation, ever to receive the award. Film director Richard Lester was 52 when he received the award at the inaugural event in 1984.
Elliott is a two-time video of the year winner at the VMAs. In 2001, she won it for “Lady Marmalade,” a collab with Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa and P!nk (who received the vanguard award two years ago). In 2003, Elliott won again for her solo smash “Work It.” Elliott is one of just five artists who have won that award twice (counting both lead and featured credits).The other four have been Eminem, Rihanna, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.
Elliott had a second video of the year nomination in 2001 for her solo hit, “Get Ur Freak On.”
Since bowing as a solo artist with her acclaimed 1997 deput LP Supa Dupa Fly, Elliott has won four Grammys, from 22 nominations. She’s also scored five top 10 hits as a lead artist on the Billboard Hot 100, and released four albums that have reached the top three spots on the Billboard 200.
“Missy’s impact on the music landscape is indelible,” said Bruce Gillmer, head of music and music talent, Viacom and co-brand head, MTV International. “Her creative vision across production, performance and songwriting is unmatched.” Gillmer and Jesse Ignjatovic, Den of Thieves co-founder, are executive producers for the 2019 VMAs.
Comedian, actor and author Sebastian Maniscalco will host the VMAs live from Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Monday, Aug. 26.
MTV is partnering with PEPSI® to host a pop-up fan event, MTV & Pepsi® Celebrate the Museum of Missy Elliott, in New York City on Aug. 24-25. The installations will allow fans to be immersed in Elliott’s music videos and costumes.
In a clever nod to Elliott’s biggest hit “Work It,” MTV “flipped-and-reversed” its press release announcing her selection.
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