Following the white supremacist march and conflict in Charlottesville where one person was murdered, areas across the U.S have actively tried to remove Confederate monuments. Many believe the statues represent and intrinsically celebrate a violent, racist past. While several people currently face criminal charges for knocking down a statue in North Carolina, elsewhere, people are petitioning for the replacement of one monument with a worthy contemporary icon.
9,300+ people have signed a petition calling for a statue in the Olde Towne area of Portsmouth, Virginia to be replaced with a “true Portsmouth native hero” – Missy Elliott.
“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,” Nathan Coflin, the petition-starter, writes. “Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it.”
“Missy is all of us,” he continues. “Everything the Confederacy was not.”
Melissa Arnette Elliott was born in Portsmouth in 1971 as the only child of a power company dispatcher and welder – she’s an artist and music producer renowned for bangers like “Work It”, and seminal albums like Supa Dupa Fly and The Cookbook. As a platinum recording artist, she has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
Earlier this week, a ‘Remove the Stain’ rally, organised by the Coalition for Black Americans, took place in Portsmouth, where local residents peacefully protested in front of a Confederate monument. Calls for its removal have been happening since the Charleston Church shooting by Dylann Roof in 2015. According to the New York Times, Mayor John L. Rowe says he intends to see the monument moved to a local cemetery.
The petition will be handed over to the mayor if it manages to hit 10,000 signatures.