PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth native and Grammy-winning rapper Missy Elliott was in her hometown Tuesday to make a special announcement on Missy Elliott Day.
Elliott donated $50,000 to the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority for families facing eviction.
During the event Elliott’s mother, Patricia Elliott, gave a heartwarming account of their family’s financial struggles before the R&B and hip hop sensation skyrocketed into superstardom.
Elliott’s mother recalled Portsmouth fans running in pouring rain and yelling “we love you.” The Grammy award winner took to the podium and said the donation is a reciprocation of that love.
“On behalf of the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority, our board of commissioners, our staff and most importantly our residents, we want to thank you for your generous donation,” said Alisa Winston, executive director of the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “This will help 26 of our families who are past due on their rent remain in their homes.”
One of those families is Kayla Hale and her children.
“I had an eviction,” she said. “I go to court on Oct. 26. I didn’t have a plan.”
She was almost forced to move herself and her kids in with her mom to stay afloat. The surprise changed everything.
“I am just grateful. It will help me out a whole lot,” Hale said.
Elliott told 10 On Your Side’s Lauryn Moss the donation meant a lot because she’s been in these family’s shoes.
“For me, who has been in a situation like that with my mother, a single mother, that’s what made it important,” Elliott said. “I felt like I could relate to being in a place where you don’t know where you are going next.”
The cherry on top was being able to do it in her hometown.
“I wanted to give back and that be the celebration of Missy Elliott Day just to show I love everyone here. I love my city,” Elliott said.
City leaders said this was a big deal.
“It was an opportunity for someone who has been through a lot in life and give something back to the community that gave her so much,” Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover said. “What it meant to the families here in the city of Portsmouth is hope.”
Gov. Glenn Youngkin recognized Oct. 17, 2022, as Missy Elliott Day in Virginia, and Portsmouth hosted a renaming ceremony and parade to rename McLean Street to Missy Elliott Boulevard, with 3,600 people in attendance at Manor High School.
At that time, Elliott was presented with a key to the city, and fellow Virginia music icons Pusha T., Trey Songz and Timbaland attended the event.