PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Five-time Grammy award winning singer, rapper, songwriter and producer Missy Elliott returned to her native city, Portsmouth, for "Missy Elliott Day" on Tuesday.
"I feel like as artists we are celebrated a lot. So instead of it being about me I wanted it to be about the people here, my hometown," Missy Elliott said.
As a result, the artist announced she is donating $50,000 to Portsmouth Redevelopment Housing Authority.
Roughly 26 families who met specific criteria, such as facing possible eviction, will be getting assistance from her donation fund.
"This will allow them to remain in their homes. This will allow them to start fresh with a clean slate," said Alisa Winston, executive director for Portsmouth Redevelopment Housing Authority.
Threat of eviction, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover said, is real to too many people. That's why he said the donation will make a difference for the city's residents.
"It's a big deal, it's huge. It keeps families together, and it gives people, once again, hope," Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, Portsmouth said.
Missy Elliott said she understands the importance of that hope.
"Especially for me who has been in a situation like that, my mother is a single mother, that's what made it important. Because I feel like I can relate to being in a place where you just don't know where you're going next," said Missy Elliott.
The artist, and her mother, said they're always glad to give back.
"The people are very caring here in Portsmouth. They are really good people. So when we left and my daughter went to different places all over the world, she grabbed that DNA from the beautiful people here. We won't forget it," said Pat Elliott, Missy Elliott's mother.
On Oct. 17 2022, Gov. Glenn Youngkin recognized the first Missy Elliott Day in the Commonwealth. Portsmouth held a renaming ceremony and parade to change McLean Street to Missy Elliott Boulevard and gave her the key to the city.
Melissa Arnette Elliott, who graduated from Manor High School in 1990, is the first female rapper to be inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.