Ciara Presents Missy Elliott with Innovator Award at Billboard Women in Music

Missy Elliott is a trailblazer, who paved the way for women in music. During Billboard’s Women in Music 2015, which aired last night on Lifetime, the hip-hop icon received a fitting tribute from one of her closest friends, Ciara.

“Countless women in music today, including myself and many of the biggest names in music, are living in a world my friend and hero, Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott, helped to build, to create and to innovate,” said Ciara. “And so I could not be more thrilled to stand here and celebrate Missy as the innovator that she still is. The record shows that this creative force is one of the most influential rap artists and entertainers of all time.”

She cited Missy’s “groundbreaking” accomplishments including 10 top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 (more than any female in hip-hop) and 31 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (nine of them top 10).

“There is truly no one like her,” added CiCi, who got emotional as she spoke. “It’s just the latest chapter in the true story of an amazing, talented and gifted music maker and a true innovator.”

Following a dance tribute, Missy took the stage, fighting back tears as she accepted the honor. “First of all, I am so humbly grateful. I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years, and I stand here for all the women who may have been told ‘you don’t fit the mold, you’re not good enough, you won’t make it.’ Look at me, I’m here, and I’m standing here for y’all because I see so many powerful women in here.”

During her heartfelt speech, she also thanked her mother, Timbaland, and late friend Aaliyah. “I hope you’re looking down and that you are proud of me,” she said.

Missy wasn’t the only honoree. Lady Gaga accepted Woman of the Year, Selena Gomez was named Chart-Topper, and Fifth Harmony won Group of the Year.