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Creative Commons

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Thousands sign petition to replace Confederate statue with one of rapper Missy Elliott

By Josh Magness

jmagness@mcclatchy.com

August 21, 2017 01:56 PM

UPDATED August 22, 2017 01:56 PM

Following the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, there’s been heated debate over what should be done with the hundreds of Confederate monuments located throughout the United States.

The issue has been handled differently throughout the nation.

Some cities, including Baltimore, have taken them down to send a message of inclusivity; a group of protesters in Durham, North Carolina, took matters into their own hands and illegally tore down a Confederate statue Wednesday; and the National Park Service announced it will not remove Confederate statues from the Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg.

And now, one Confederate statue in Portsmouth, Virginia, might get replaced — with a monument in honor of rapper Missy Elliott.

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At least, that’s the goal of a Change.org petition signed by over 20,000 people.

“We believe it is time to finally replace the Confederate Monument in Olde Towne Portsmouth Virginia near the intersection of Court and High streets with a new statue of a true Portsmouth native hero,” the petition, created by a user named Nathan Coflin, reads. “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?”

It’s a choice that would make sense, at least from a geographical standpoint — Portsmouth is her hometown, according to The Guardian.

Coflin wrote on the petition’s webpage that the statue of Elliott would serve as a beacon of hope for residents of the city.

“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,” he wrote. “All this without even once owning a slave.”

It was an idea that quickly gained traction from Missy Elliott fans on Twitter.

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PETITION YOU WILL EVER SIGN.https://t.co/mPx4JnCWiV pic.twitter.com/IbS7rWrORS

— Queer Xicano Chisme (@QueerXiChisme) August 19, 2017

"Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it."



I'm here for a @MissyElliott monument!https://t.co/qcbJgCy0I7 pic.twitter.com/vRUbqKrKoR

— Blisstress (@AAPremlall) August 19, 2017

nothing but respect for MY president https://t.co/lpS3K7yFNe

— Faith Hart (@mynameisnotface) August 20, 2017

Even Elliott, who noticed the petition, seemed humbled by the news.

I don't know what to say just to see this warms my heart and it's so humbling to me

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 19, 2017

“Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it,” Coflin wrote on the petition’s webpage, referencing Elliott’s 2002 hit ‘Work It.’ “Let us come together in getting City Council to erect this statue in honor of Missy Elliott and all those in the great City of Portsmouth who work it each and every day.”