Missy Elliott on God: I ‘felt like he had his hands on me right from childhood’

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TENNIS : Wimbledon 2019  - Grande Bretagne - 14/07/2019

Missy Elliott is back… but not really. She covers the latest issue of Marie Claire, and it reads partly like a hype piece for music which will eventually come, and partly it reads like a “where are they now” investigative piece on long-lost pop stars. Missy never really went anywhere, although she only seems to pop up every now and then. So what has she been doing? She’s working on music, but mostly she just lives a peaceful lowkey life, takes care of her mom and goes to church a lot. You can read the full Marie Claire piece here. Some highlights:

Receiving an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music: “I went to the side of my grandmother’s house where I used to play church. I used to shout and sing all kinds of gospel songs. Ones I had made up, ones that existed in the church…I was at that place…. God is real because I went to that place and felt like he had his hands on me from a child.”

Her life sounds so lowkey: “I was just going, going, going. It wasn’t resonating what was happening. After I did the Super Bowl [in 2015], my friends called me and they are like, ‘So, what you about to do?’ I’m here mopping my floor, and I got to wash the dogs. And they are like, ‘What? You just finished doing the Super Bowl.’ And the same thing happened…I was in the car with Michelle Obama [for ‘Carpool Karaoke’ in 2016], and they called me like, ‘Girl, we got to celebrate; that’s huge!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m watching a movie on Netflix.’ Now that I’ve had a chance to slow down, I look back at stuff, and I look back at my ‘She’s a Bitch’ video [1999], and at the time I didn’t even think about it. But I look at it now and I’m like, ‘This is still so many years ahead.’”

The years she struggled before fame & success: “Trust me, I was broke. And my family would be like, ‘You better find something to do.’ They told me to go in the Army. I’m like, ‘I’m too fat to go in the Army. Where I am running to?’ Everything just seemed so impossible at the time because we didn’t have the technology to be able to reach out and put your stuff online and people get a chance to see it. So you have to be at the right place at the right time.”

On her mother: “I told my mother, ‘I’m going to buy you a house, and I’m going to buy you an elevator incase your legs start hurting.’ And she would laugh and be like, ‘All right, okay.’ But when I got my first check, I didn’t even buy myself a house first. I bought my mother a house. Put a Bible in the soil and built it from the ground up.”

Sharing her wisdom: “Whenever God decides to call, I want to have that legacy of being able, not just music or videos that people thought were great. Mary [J. Blige], Faith [Evans], Puff [Sean Combs], all of them taught me so many things. I want to be that person that people say, ‘Hey, Missy said she did it like this.’ If a billionaire told me they read 400 books to become a billionaire, I’m going, ‘Where is the Barnes & Noble at? Let me get 400 books.’ And just giving wisdom, because that blessing don’t come for you, like my grandma said, to keep it for yourself. It is to share. And hopefully I have done that. I do want to make the generation behind feel like, don’t be afraid, because we are in a time where so many people can be artists. Now you can just post up, and if it gets to the right person, then it’s just viral. I want to be able to encourage those who don’t go viral….A lot of people out there that have 452 or 100 followers may be talented. I want them to not feel like they have to do what everybody else is doing to gain that attention. Just be you. It’s going to catch hold somewhere.”

Over the years, a number of pop stars and R&B stars and country stars traded their guitars and touring life for the church. It feels like Missy is making that transition a little bit too – I love that she talks about still going into the studio and still making music, but will it ever come out? Probably not. Because that’s not exactly where her heart is anymore. Maybe she would feel better if she made gospel music, or if she just gave up music to become a pastor or something like that. The Gospel of Missy, the Church of Missy.

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