Behind all of Missy Elliott‘s success, there’s always been a very important source of motivation: her mother. The rapper revealed in a Sunday (April 23) tweet that her desire to help her mom safely escape an abusive relationship was one of the main reasons she was so driven to make it big in the music industry, back when she first started out in the early ’90s.
Elliott’s revelation was prompted by a question from a fan, who tweeted that they wanted a documentary on the “Work It” artist to be made. “I wanna know like what inspired her and what was her drive to remain persistent in a male dominated industry at the time,” the fan wrote.
But instead of a documentary, the fan got their answer straight from the source herself. “I seen many strong women in the industry be4 me that made it through,” Elliott replied. “my mom was in [an] abusive relationship so I told her I would make it so I could get her out of that situation & I would make sure she’d never have to work again that’s what really kept me going🙌🏾💜”
The “Get Ur Freak On” musician, of course, went on to become one of the most influential hip-hop artists of her generation. After getting her start in the R&B girl group Sista, she worked with longtime collaborator Timbaland to forge a bestselling solo career that spawned nine top 10 hits the Billboard Hot 100, five top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 and four Grammy wins. Last week, she was announced as one of this year’s Black Music Honors honorees.
Elliott has long been open about growing up with a physically violent father. In a 2003 interview with The Guardian, she said her dad used to hit her mom almost daily and once pulled a gun on both of them. “My father was very abusive, and it was hard for my mother at first to leave because we had depended on him for so long,” she told the publication. “Sometimes you kind of get adjusted to getting that beating.”
When she was 14, Elliott’s mother was finally persuaded by family members to leave her father. “When we left, my mother realized how strong she was on her own, and it made me strong,” she said.
“It took her leaving to realize.”
See Missy Elliott’s tweet below:
I seen many strong women in the industry be4 me that made it through🙌🏾 & my mom was in a abusive relationship so I told her I would make it so I could get her out of that situation & I would make sure she’d never have to work again that’s what really kept me going🙌🏾💜 https://t.co/JHDvBysNbE
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) April 24, 2023
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.