It was no surprise that icon Missy Elliott — whose body of work includes "Work It," "Get Ur Freak On," and "One Minute Man" — was going to be honored with a Visionary Award from Essence at the magazine’s annual pre-Grammy party in celebration of black female artists. What was a surprise was that her longtime friend and collaborator, the one and only Janet Jackson, would be presenting it to her. The Rhythm Nation singer flew in from her London tour just to do the honors.
In a touching tribute, Jackson said about Elliott:
Some act, some choreograph, some write hit songs, some create whole new sounds, some women are able to make their mark in one of these fields, but there's only one woman who has made her mark in all these fields. Not only have you made your mark, but she's done so with boldness and courage. Creativity is a beautiful thing, and when creativity flows so freely from a musical genius, all we can do is express gratitude. I am so grateful for Missy's beautiful soul. I am grateful for her creativity, her energy, grateful for her soaring inspiration. I'm grateful for how she stood toe-to-toe with the guys, showing them that a woman can do it all, take charge, lead the way, innovate and create without fear. Grateful for how she's cleared the way, the path, for new generations of young talent to follow.
Elliott began to tear up at Jackson's words. When she made it to the stage to accept her award, she had this to say:
That was a surprise, I’ve known Janet over a decade and this is not just … someone I do music with. I can call Janet any time of night . and she will listen. The times that I may have felt like giving up, she’s always gave me an encouraging word.
It was an emotional night for all involved. Elliott shared a part of the evening to her Twitter account.
.@JanetJackson our SISTERSHIP is UNBREAKABLE over 17 yrs! I THANK you for flying from the UK to present me with the #BlackWomenInMusic@essence award last night! You r the definition of LEGEND/ICON/BLACK&BEAUTIFUL oh & RICH🤷🏽♀️😂 I ❤️you I couldn’t stop crying y’all😩🤗 pic.twitter.com/pQ6XkwRJYr— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) January 26, 2018
After accepting the award, Elliott took the crowd to church and let everyone know to never give up.
Fans were freaking out!
y’all I was in the presence of Janet & Missy at the same time 😫— Shelby Ivey Christie (@bronze_bombSHEL) January 26, 2018
Like anybody with ears I've loved her music. She's a true trailblazer. The videos...legendary. Then as I see her tweets I see her wonderful genuineness! She is the bomb! New found level up love & respect for this queen! Congrats! Now, new music please! ijs💝🎹— Algene Green (@MyCrazyUncleAl) January 26, 2018
As this Twitter user pointed out, there is a lot of love shared between these two powerful women.
There were plenty of shout outs to Missy for winning the award.
Well deserved. Truly one of the best. You have paved the way for many Missy and made so many memories. Your music is timeless. Still love listening to she's a bitch. God bless you.— Yvette (@yvieblu1) January 27, 2018
Janet what can I say so humble and iconic thank you for your music, such a legend
And tears. Lots and lots of tears.
Teary-eyed right along with you... Thanks for being iconic in every way 🙏🏾💐— wrïch (@mrdelancy) January 26, 2018
Congratulations, Missy Elliott!