Missy Elliott is fierce on ‘ELLE’ cover

The original queen of rap is taking the cover of ELLE magazine by storm, and with her cover comes a few life lessons from a career well-versed.

According to HuffPost, Missy Elliott used her place on the June cover of ELLE to share how her music and adjoining music videos helped her to express herself uninhibited. For  example, in her 1997 music video for “The Rain,” HuffPost says the rapper explained her “black plastic bag suit” was a way to make her feel powerful.

“To me, the outfit was a way to mask my shyness behind all the chaos of the look,” she said. “Although I am shy, I was never afraid to be a provocative woman. The outfit was a symbol of power. I loved the idea of feeling like a hip-hop Michelin woman. I knew I could have on a blow-up suit and still have people talking. It was bold and different. I’ve always seen myself as an innovator and a creative unlike any other.”

Even in a career marked with hits, the “Work It” rapper said that she’s never wanted to do anything to compromise who she is; in fact, HuffPost reports Missy Elliott offered that changing herself to fit in is something she’d “never do.”

“I’ve been through so many stumbling blocks to build a legacy, so I wouldn’t want to do something just to fit in. Because I never fit in.”

Read the full interview here.

‘For the Girls,’ By the Girls

When eight top female singers unite to record one song, you know it’s for a good reason — and First Lady Michelle Obama was able to convene the powerhouses for a very special project ahead of her SXSW appearance.

According to TIME, the First Lady released a song titled, “This Is For My Girls,” on Wednesday, March 16 just before her SXSW Music Keynote Conversation. The song, penned by legendary songwriter Diane Warren, features not only singers like Kelly Clarkson and Lea Michele, but also Missy Elliott, Zendaya, Janelle Monaé, Jada Grace, Kelly Rowland and Chloe x Halle.

Done in a collaboration with AOL’s Makers series, TIME says that the track aims to “promote her Let Girls Learn initiative, which helps provide access to education to the estimated 62 million girls around the world without schooling.”

All proceeds from the track will be donated to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, which aids in giving “adolescent girls get the secondary education they deserve.”

To listen to “This Is For My Girls” or to download the track, check out Itunes here.


Missy’s Feminism

Just as actresses and athletes can inspire young women to pursue their dreams, musicians can do the same — and this certainly held true for Missy Elliott’s influence on one Chicago poet.

According to The Huffington Post, 26-year-old poet Miss Haze took to the stage of the Individual World Poetry Slam to honor Missy Elliott, as well as “hip-hop feminism and the power of representation.”

Miss Haze explained in her poem that, after seeing the hip-hop artist’s music video for “The Rain” when she was 8 years old, she decided she wanted to grow up to be Missy Elliott.

Further breaking down the importance of Missy Elliott in her own life, Miss Haze described the impact of seeing someone like her not only being successful, but also living her dreams:

“There were so many artists I could have idolized at the time but Missy was the only one who looked like me. It is because of Melissa Elliott that I believed that a fat black girl from Chicago could dance until she felt pretty, could be sexy and cool, could be a woman playing a man’s game, and not be apologetic about any of it.”

Solidifying the impact of Missy Elliott on feminism and representation, Miss Haze said, “If you ask me why representation is important… I will tell you that right now there are a million black girls just waiting to see someone who looks like them.”