PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A stretch of road drivers once knew only as McLean Street, is now permanently cemented as Missy Elliott Boulevard.
Back in August, Portsmouth City Council voted unanimously to rename a portion of McLean Street in Missy Elliott's honor. Monday, they made it official.
City leaders unveiled the covered sign, as nearby thousands of fans filled the seats of Manor High School to help celebrate the milestone alongside the hip-hop icon from Portsmouth.
The five-time Grammy award-winning artist returned home to the high school she graduated from in 1990, as the City of Portsmouth presented her with an honorary key to the city.
"I’ve rode down that boulevard so many times, so make sure y’all don’t get no misdemeanors on my street," Elliott told the crowd, laughing.
To celebrate the unveiling, Congressman Bobby Scott and Gov. Glenn Youngkin read proclamations for the Portsmouth native.
"It’s my privilege to declare today in the Commonwealth of Virginia Missy Elliott Day," Youngkin said.
Elliott, her family and friends were treated to marching bands from Hampton University, Elizabeth City University and Manor High School. Norfolk State University’s marching band even performed a "Missy mega mix" for the star.
"I have always been told to dream big. I couldn’t have dreamed this big. Though I have accomplished many things, I have won many awards, but this trumps all when you get the love from your home," said Elliott.
Elliott’s famous friends Trey Songz and Norfolk natives Timbaland and Pusha T were there to cheer her on.
"Just being from Virginia, she was the first one of my peers I seen get up and go," Pusha T said. "She’s always been an inspiration to me for that."
We didn’t get a one-on-one interview with Elliott, but 13News Now Photographer Denzil Brown snapped this selfie before she left the field.
“I would say music impacts everybody every day," Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover told 13News Now before the day's festivities. "So, that’s why it’s important for Missy to be back here to show her how proud we are as a city, and how we want to make sure we recognize her accomplishments.”
He added that in the days leading up to the unveiling, he's had personal conversations with Elliott's mom that helped him understand her roots.
“She talked about how she raised Missy and some of the challenges they’ve been through. It was really personal for me to understand how Missy arrived here. We had that conversation, it gave me a better connection to the Missy Elliott story."
Monday afternoon, thousands of spectators lined up around Manor High School to catch a glimpse of her and usher in the special day.
“It's a momentous day she’s getting honored," Portsmouth native Rochelle Kenney said. "I was born in Portsmouth, so I’m excited for her. She always represents.”
Elliott said she hopes she can be an inspiration to other young kids in the audience to dream big.
"No matter where I went, no matter what state, no matter what country, I took Virginia with me," she said.