One Chicago poet has given an amazing ode to Missy Elliott, hip-hop feminism, and the power of representation.
At the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam, 26-year-old poet Miss Haze performed about how, after she saw the music video for “The Rain” at age 8, she decided: “I was gonna grow up to be Missy Elliott.”
In the video of the performance posted by Button Poetry above, Miss Haze declares:
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.
Haze goes on to praise Elliott for her feminism, and she reminds us all that, “Feminism says as a woman in my arena you are not my competition as a woman in my arena your light doesn’t make mine any dimmer.”
But it’s the last line of the poem that pretty much nails why Missy Elliott is so important (and why we’re so excited for her return):
“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.”
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