While the continued legitimacy of the Video Music Awards has come into question for a while, the Video Vanguard award has always served as credible recognition of the music industry’s time-honored legends (and evidence that the network retains a modicum of common sense). So you could probably understand how fans remained perplexed year after year as MTV seemingly overlooked Missy Elliott’s undeniable contribution to the visual arts. Finally, in 2019—22 years after the release of “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”—MTV is finally honoring the woman who made the act of casually popping one’s head of their own shoulders the music video standard. Variety learned that Elliott will receive the Video Vanguard Award during the August 26 ceremony, where she will also bless us with a VMA performance for the first time in 16 years.
“Missy’s impact on the music landscape is indelible,” said Bruce Gillmer, MTV International co-brand head. “Her creative vision across production, performance and songwriting is unmatched.” In previous years MTV honored Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Kanye West, and Beyonce. When Lopez won the honor last year, the internet backlash was swift. Lopez responded by saying that she, too, felt Elliott deserved to be recognized.
Despite the good news, there is still some residual controversy surrounding the award. While there were recent reports that MTV was considering changing the name of the award in response to the harrowing details of the Leaving Neverland documentary, the network has chosen to maintain the original name— The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award—for the time being. Wade Robinson, choreographer and one of the main accusers in the documentary, told The Wrap, “I don’t personally need MTV to do one thing or the other, but as child abuse survivors all over the world watch to see whether society will support them or not if they have the courage to come forward, in that regard, it’s an unfortunate choice.” The video announcement of this years recipient simply refers to Elliott as the Video Vanguard winner, which you can check out below.