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Janet Jackson Surprises an Emotional Missy Elliott With ‘Essence’ Award

Janet Jackson and Missy Elliott attend the 9th annual Essence Black Women in Music event at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on January 25, 2018. Donald Traill/Invision/AP

An unbreakable bond! Janet Jackson made a surprise appearance at Essence’s 2018 Black Women in Music event to present her friend and collaborator Missy Elliott with the magazine’s Visionary Award.

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“Some rhyme, some rap. Some act, some choreograph. Some write hit songs, some create whole new sounds. Some women are able to make her mark in some of these fields, but there’s only one woman who has made her mark in all of these fields,” the “Rhythm Nation” singer, 51, told the audience at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on Thursday, January 25. “Not only have you made your mark, but she’s done so with boldness and courage.”

The “Work It” rapper, 46, began to cry as Jackson wrapped up her introduction. The entertainers — who previously collaborated on 2008’s “The 1” and 2015’s “BURNITUP!” — then shared a long embrace on stage.

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“That was a surprise,” a visibly emotional Elliott said. “I’ve known Janet over a decade and this is not just someone I do music with. I can call Janet any time of night and she will listen. The times that I may have felt like giving up, she’s always gave me an encouraging word.”

The next morning, the “Get Ur Freak On” rapper wrote on Instagram, “#IMGRATEFUL @janetjackson that u would fly over from the UK while on tour to present me with the #BlackWomenInMusic @essence Award last night of course I’M A BIG BABY & i COULD’NT STOP CRYING TEARS of HAPPINESS our SISTERSHIP has lasted over 17 years! Your the definition of REALNESS/HUMILITY/CARING/INSPIRING/UPLIFTING/FIERCE/BOLD/RISKTAKING/BLACK STRONG& BEAUTIFUL oh & RICH Girl u know I had to throw a joke in it but I LOVE you sis for always being there for me from Day 1.”

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Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks and comedian Phoebe Robinson were among the stars who attended the pre-Grammy event to celebrate Elliott. “[I’ve been a fan] since day 1! Probably since I was a small girl,” Brooks, clad in an Elliott-inspired Adidas track suit, told Us Weekly exclusively. “My mother was pretty strict on me with the music I listened to, but I always found a way to listen to some Missy Elliott.”

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