A petition has begun to replace a Confederate monument in Portsmouth, Virginia, with a statue of hometown favorite Missy Elliott.


At the time of this writing, the petition is only 53 signatures away from meeting the 25,000 it asks for. Portsmouth native Nathan Coflin filed the form in response to the white supremacy rallies going on across the nation. Elliott, a Grammy-winning hip-hop artist, dancer, and record producer was born in the Virginia city.

“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?” the petition asks. “Together we can put white supremacy down, ‘flip it and reverse it.'” Coflin refers to Elliott as a “true Portsmouth native hero.”

“Flip it and reverse it” is a reference to a 2002 Elliott lyric from her hit song “Work It.” She is also known for hits “Get Ur Freak On,” “Lose Control.” and “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).”

Calls to remove and relocate Confederate monuments nationwide have been gaining traction recently. “Unfortunately history is kind of a mixed bag of bad and good,” Coflin said in an interview. “I wanna show we can honor the positivity that’s happening today in Portsmouth and I think no one better suits that than Missy Elliott.”

He was surprised that his petition reached so many people and gained so much support. “I thought it was kind of a pipe dream,” he explained. “But the more it got out there and the more exposure it’s getting, the more I think it’s a real possibility. People are taking it seriously — whether the Portsmouth City Council will take it seriously is another matter.” Coflin plans to take the petition to Portsmouth Mayor John L. Rowe. The monument he proposes be removed says, “To Our Confederate Dead.” The mayor this week proposed moving the monument to a nearby cemetery that contains a section of Confederate graves.

Missy Elliott got word of the petition and is humbled. “I don’t know what to say?? just to see this warms my heart and it’s so humbling to me??”

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