Michelle Obama paid tribute to Missy Elliott as she became the first female hip-hop artist inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The former First Lady of the United States appeared at the 50th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel on Thursday via video link to honour the Work It hitmaker.
“Missy, I want to thank you for all of your trailblazing ways,” the 55-year-old said in a clip that aired during the event. “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.”
Overcome with emotion, Missy delivered a 10-minute speech as she collected the accolade from fellow musician Queen Latifah, and wrapped up the acceptance by urging aspiring musicians to never give up on their dream.
“I am thankful,” she said, pausing for a few seconds. “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.”
Reflecting on the nod during an interview with Billboard earlier this month, the 47-year-old, who is gearing up to release her first studio album since 2005’s The Cookbook later this year, confessed she feels “thankful to God” that she’s been able to enjoy a successful career in music.
“It makes me look back on my life thinking of all the sleepless nights staying up writing even when I was tired or sick and all the times I got into trouble as a kid for writing songs on my mother’s nice white walls in the house,” she smiled. “To know my work has not been in vain and recognised by many makes it all worth it.”