Fans want Missy Elliott statue to replace Confederate monument
By Lisa Respers France, CNN
(CNN) — Missy Elliott is the queen of “flip it and reverse it.”
A petition to have a statue of the rapper/singer replace a Confederate monument had almost reached its goal of 25,000 signatures on Monday.
Nathan Coflin is a resident of Elliott’s hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia, and started the Change.org petition to replace the Confederate monument in Olde Towne Portsmouth near the intersection of Court and High streets with one of Elliott, whom he calls “a true Portsmouth native hero.”
“Who better to encapsulate the culture and spirit of the city enshrined in a new monument than Grammy Award-winning rapper, dancer, and record producer Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott,” the petition asks.
“Before she was ‘Missy Misdemeanor’ she was Melissa Arnette Elliott, born on July 1, 1971 in Portsmouth, Virginia,” the petition continues. “Hailing from humble beginnings as the only child of a power company dispatcher and a welder at Portsmouth’s lauded naval shipyard, she rose to become a platinum recording artist with over 30 million albums sold. All this without even once owning a slave.”
The petition is a moment of levity in what has been an otherwise contentious battle over symbols of the confederacy since a recent white supremacist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The rally was sparked by the call to preserve a monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Violence broke out and Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man attending the rally plowed a car into a group of counter protesters at the demonstration.
Coflin told the Washington Post he’s a history buff and a major Elliott fan.
“I wanna show we can honor the positivity that’s happening today in Portsmouth and I think no one better suits that than Missy Elliott,” he told the publication. “People are taking it seriously — whether the Portsmouth City Council will take it seriously is another matter.”
CNN has reached out to reps for Elliott for comment.