Work it! Missy Elliott did just that on Monday, August 26, when she took the stage at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. For her epic Video Vanguard performance, she was joined by the help of an old friend: Alyson Stoner.
Elliott, 48, performed a medley of her hits, including “Get Ur Freak On” and “Pass the Dutch,” when she took the stage at New Jersey’s Prudential Center. The act marks her first VMA performance since 2003.
Stoner, a Disney Channel alum, notably appeared in Elliott’s video for “Work It” in 2002 at age 9. She made a surprise appearance during the Vanguard performance to dance to the hit track.
Stoner, now 26, opened up to Vibe in 2017 about what she learned from working with the Grammy winner as a young child.
“She created an atmosphere of easy-going, good-natured fun, and I think it allowed us to not even consider that we were performing in front of a camera that’s gonna be syndicated to the world. It really kept us, in a very palpable way, engaged with each other and focused on the dance,” she said at the time. “That’s something that I think the best artists retain — the ability to invite you into their small, intimate inner space, and let that be what radiates.”
“I promised I wouldn’t cry. I cry at every award,” Elliott began on Monday night. “This Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me. I have worked diligently for over two decades and I never thought that I would be standing up here receiving this award. So it means so much to me.”
The singer and songwriter is a four-time Grammy Award winner and has sold more than 30 million records. This year, she became the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the first female rapper to receive an honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. The “Lose Control” MC is also the only female rapper to have six platinum studio albums certified.
Elliott surprised her fans on Friday, August 23, by dropping a new collection of songs — her first new batch in over a decade. Iconology included five songs and was produced by Elliott, Timbaland and Wili Hendrix. While the hip-hop artist collaborated with many artists over the past 14 years, this EP marks her first record since 2005’s The Cookbook.