Missy Elliot has made history as the first female rapper to receive honours from the Berklee College of Music.
Rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer Missy Elliott, a five-time Grammy Award winner whose U.S. sales have surpassed 30 million, was praised in Berklee President Roger H. Brown’s introduction for bending genres, breaking stereotypes, and pushing musical, visual, and stylistic boundaries.
“There will be ups and downs—prepare for that,” said Elliott in her remarks to the graduating class. After describing her own ups and downs, such as losing awards, being dropped from a label, and becoming ill, she encouraged graduates to be patient through the struggle, but to never give up on themselves. “As long as you are breathing, it is never too late. Don’t forget that. You have come too far to quit.”
Following the ceremony, both Elliott and Timberlake posted the landmark moment on Instagram. “CREATE YOUR OWN LANE,” Elliott captioned her post, alongside a video of her in a cap and gown with her framed diploma. “Sincerely Dr. Missy Elliot.”
More than 1,000 graduates from 67 countries and 47 U.S. states received degrees this year at Berklee College of Music’s 2019 commencement. At the ceremony, Berklee President Roger H. Brown also presented honorary doctorates to music icons Alex Lacamoire, and Justin Timberlake