“Is it worth it, let me work it
I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it”
I’m a big chick. I don’t have too much confidence in my ability to flip and reverse it. However, don’t think I won’t try. It could happen. Just not today. But, Missy Misdemeanor Elliott did not let the critiques stop her reign. At the age of 14 I did not understand the sexually charged lyrics and the “weirdness” of Missy’s videos. BUT I WATCHED! I wanted to see the thick dancers in the back hitting every beat. I wanted to see the little girl cut up in her ponytails. I needed to see how Missy would put her body on smaller frames. I wanted to do that. I was amazed how she did it (this was before I fully understood “green screens” and Photoshop). I wanted to experience the bliss that each video offered. I wanted to rap and be in videos but I was fat. They don’t let fat people do that. YOU THOUGHT.
Missy was is the QUEEN of alternate realities. She would put us on a school bus heading to a high school in the middle of a desert, on top of the greenest hill out of a skewed meadow, or in an adult doll house with moving human dolls. She was snatching edges before we reached an age to understand “The Rain” or be “Supa Dupa Fly”. Did I forget to mention that she was a big girl? Her size should not matter, but for me and other bigger bodies it does. Why? Keep reading fam.
Missy made songs that identified her sexuality as a woman and never tried to downplay it because she was plus size. She did not repress her sexy by over using smaller (yet, thick) models that would over shadow her, nor did she over shadow them. They worked in harmony. But, you knew it was Missy’s video. In the “Work It” lyrics she discussed how she would give you what you needed (shout out to Nicle Wray where those actual lyrics showed up) and did not let her size stop her from being fierce. She set the 99-2000 on fire with video after video. Missy took home Grammy’s that further solidified her space in the entertainment business as a artist and rapper. Elliott did not make herself the butt of anyone’s joke and continued to slay. WHO GOT THE KEYS TO MY JEEP THO? BEEP. BEEP.
When she “reintroduced” herself in 2015 with Katy Perry, some people thought she was a new artist. BYE. But for others who watched Missy from our living rooms and through the blinds of neighbors with access to 106 & Park, we knew Missy’s comeback was due to a personal phone call from the hip-hop game. For me, Missy came back different; she lost weight.
I was shocked, amazed, and ready to hit all the crunches. YOU GO GIRL. WORK IT. WORK ALL OF IT. She embodied her lyrics “I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it”. She did all of that and came to collect her royalties from culture vultures. But I could not help but think about the space she made for big bodies, especially big black bodies that were hiding in their rooms wanting to share their talent. The fat emcees that wrote their lyrics on the back of tethered notebooks holding their stories of doubt, pain, passion, and stardom. The big bodied dancers that feared no one would believe they could do a full split and make it a breeze! The superstars of tomorrow stifled by the stereotypes the world had about the “oxymoron” of “fat excellence”. You can’t be both. Missy, you were. You let hip hop know it would not continue before you laid down your 16, your way. You could stand among the thugs and shrug your shoulders at the haters. You empowered a lot of young, black, and big bodied dreamers.
Thank you Missy!