As the nation debates the role of Confederate iconography in its parks and public arenas, one thing we haven't yet asked ourselves is, what should replace all those statues? At the rate we're going, there's going to be an awful lot of empty plinths and columns around. One guy in Portsmouth, Virginia has a great idea: he's started a petition to replace a Confederate statue with Missy Elliott.
Nathan Coflin created a petition on Change.org, calling for the town of Portsmouth to replace its Confederate Monument with the image of Portsmouth native and local hero, Grammy-winning rapper, dancer, and producer Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott. He wrote,
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. All this without even once owning a slave.
Dang. She's already looking like a great option.
But Coflin isn't fooling himself that it won't be controversial.
The white supremacist rally which turned violent in Charlottesville, VA was ostensibly protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and since then, statues honoring the Confederacy have become increasingly controversial. Activists around the country have engaged in civil disobedience, tearing down other Confederate statues, while other cities or institutions, like New York City or Duke University, contemplate removing statues with racist implications. In the meantime, many are protesting the removal of the statues, arguing that they're a part of history or cultural heritage.
So, Coflin knows that it's going to be a hard sell. He wrote,
Getting this statue put up will be a lot of work and you may ask yourself is it worth it? I say yes and ask you to join me in letting us work it. Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse 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. Ycamerpus Etihw!
Well, this seems like as good a time as any to revisit this gem:
TV station WKTR in Virginia reports that when the petition was started on Aug 16., it had a goal of just 100 supporters. As of Aug. 20, it had over 12,000, and was picking up steam.
You don't even have to be Missy Elliott's biggest fan to see how awesome this would be (though it helps). People were into it.
Coflin concludes his petition, "Missy is all of us. Missy is everything the Confederacy was not."
Seems like a good excuse to listen to some old-school Missy Elliott today. Get your freak on, guys.