Missy Elliott has always been “supa dupa fly” and is now finally getting recognized for it. Today, it was announced that Missy Elliott will receive the MTV 2019 VMA’s Video Vanguard Award. She will be the first female rapper to receive the award. Past recipients include Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, and The Rolling Stones. It’s been a long time coming and certainly overdue for the artist who redefined female rap. Missy Elliott began songwriting and producing music with Timbaland in the late ’90s for the likes of Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child before venturing out with her own album Supa Dupa Fly in 1997, which was directed by Hype Williams.
Just as Missy Elliott broke barriers in music, she also redefined the aesthetics around it. Her music video looks have always been deliciously outrageous and absurdist, yet completely cool. She opened the conversation around body size acceptance well before it became a widely discussed topic. One of her most famous looks appeared in the triptastic video from 1997 “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” It used a fish-eye lens to alter proportions; Missy Elliott wore what appeared to be an air-filled black trash bag that warped with her every movement and a gold-specked helmet with red-lensed glasses. The same year, the fish-lens technique was also used in her video “Sock It 2 Me” with Da Brat, in which the duo dressed up as armored action heroes.
Missy Elliott’s later music videos also stand out. In 2002, there was “Work It,” in which the rapper delved into full noughties excess: glammed-up tracksuits, fur Kangol hats, and a coat with the late Aaliyah airbrushed on its back. Most recently, and over 15 years later, Missy Elliott appeared in Lizzo’s “Tempo,” emerging from a car dressed in a glittering tracksuit. Per usual, Missy Elliott knows how to make an entrance and a statement to boot.
Here, see some of Missy Elliott’s most outstanding music video style.
Originally Appeared on Vogue