By Aaliyah Pollard and Jordyn Isaacs | Staff Writers
Missy Elliott talks to reporters after Portsmouth’s street dedication ceremony. By Ayan Harris
The Hampton Roads’ city of Portsmouth, Virginia recently honored their most revered local legend. Grammy Award-winning recording artist Missy Elliott returned to her hometown to celebrate the city’s decision to rename a vital street after her namesake.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott made her triumphant return to her alma mater, Manor High School, to celebrate Portsmouth’s decision to rename a portion of McLean Street to Missy Elliott Boulevard and to be presented with a key to the city.
A Portsmouth media release explained the city’s reasoning for the renaming
“Missy’s trailblazing career is a testament that when you dream big, anything is possible,” Portsmouth City Manager Tonya Chapman said. “We’re proud of Missy’s accomplishments and so thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate her right here in her hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia.”
Hampton University’s Marching Force performs at Missy Elliott Boulevard street dedication ceremony. By Ayan Harris
In a robust public pep rally, Elliott was welcomed back to the city with a parade featuring local college and high school marching bands including Hampton University’s Marching Force and Norfolk State’s Spartan “Legion” Marching Band.
Following the event, Elliott took to social media to thank the city.
“When you go down Missy Elliott Boulevard make ‘sho’ you drive slow and say beep beep who got the key to the jeep. I want to say big up to all the bands who came out to show major love in VA, y’all showed out.”
The renowned artist was joined by her family, close friends, the mayor of Portsmouth and the Governor of Virginia. Portsmouth residents cheered as stars like Timbaland and Pusha T emerged to share their appreciation for their dear friend.
Portsmouth mayor, Shannon Glover, presents Missy Elliott with the key to the city during the Missy Elliott Boulevard street dedication ceremony. By Ayan Harris
Manor High School invited students, faculty, the community, as well as those close to Elliott, to join in honoring the legendary artist on their football field. Hampton University’s Marching Force joined the fleet of bands that performed at the ceremony, kicking off the event with high energy.
Following the performances, Missy Elliott was formally introduced as her friends gave their own speeches describing their relationship with the artist.
All of the day’s festivities led up to the main event during which Missy Elliott was presented with the key to the city of Portsmouth. However, the surprises did not end there as Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin declared Oct. 17 Missy Elliott Day.
R&B artist, Trey Songz greets guests at Missy Elliott Boulevard street dedication ceremony. By Ayan Harris
People of various backgrounds and positions within the community attended the event. Hampton University’s President Darrell K. Williams came out to support Missy Elliott following her request to have Hampton’s Marching Force perform.
Hampton University President, Darrell K. Williams, speaks with Script Writers Jordyn Isaacs and Aaliyah Pollard. By Ayan Harris
President Williams described Elliott as an inspiration that “exemplifies the standard of excellence” that Hampton University prides itself on.