New York City was stacked with legends at Thursday night's Black Women in Music ceremony.
The 9th annual Essence magazine-sponsored event, held at Highland Ballroom, included the awarding of the Visionary honor to someone who definitely qualifies: the incomparable Missy Elliott.
Janet Jackson, who's set to headline this year's Essence Music Festival in July, surprised Elliott by flying in from London to present her with the award. "Creativity is a beautiful thing," Jackson said during her speech. "And when creativity flows so freely from a musical genius, all we can do is express gratitude. I am so grateful for Missy’s beautiful soul. Grateful for her incredible energy. Grateful for her soaring inspiration. Grateful for how she stood toe-to-toe with the guys, showing them that a woman can do it all—take charge, lead the way, innovate, and create without fear."
In an Instagram post Friday, Elliott said she was grateful for the honor and confirmed she was indeed crying "tears of happiness" during Jackson's speech. "Our SISTERSHIP has lasted over 17 years!" Elliott wrote. "You're 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."
Back in December, Jackson enlisted Elliott to close out her State of the World Tour with a special performance of "Burnitup!" at Philips Arena in Atlanta.