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Missy Elliott made history over the weekend becoming the first Hip-Hop artist to receive an honorary degree from Berklee College of Music, the nation’s elite music conservatory.

During her acceptance speech, the pioneering producer, songwriter, singer, and rapper spoke overcoming the odds while navigating her way through the music industry. She left the students with a hopeful message. “There will be ups and downs — prepare for that, but don’t give up,” she said. “As long as you are breathing, it is never too late. Don’t forget that. You have come too far to quit.”


While honoring Missy Elliott, who is expected to release her first album in over a decade, the prestigious school praised the five-time Grammy Award winner for “bending genres, breaking stereotypes, and pushing musical, visual, and stylistic boundaries.”

Justin Timberlake was also a recipient of the honor and had some inspiring words. “I hope that in the years to come, two things will happen: One, I will represent you in the way that you most hope for. And two, I look around and see this graduating class. Meet me at the studio. I want to see y’all!’