The Confederate Monument in Portsmouth, Virginia, is a 35-foot obelisk dedicated to area-born Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. Not interested in simply removing the monument in the wake of Charlottesville, some residents have a replacement idea: Why not”put white supremacy down, flip it, and reverse it” with a monument honoring Grammy Award-winning musician and Portsmouth’s native daughter Missy Elliott.
Missy Elliott hails from the city, graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1990 and forming the all-female R&B group Sista with her childhood friend Timbaland as the crew’s producer. According to the Change.org petition calling for the statue, Missy Elliott would make the perfect replacement because she encapsulates “the culture and spirit of the city.”
“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,” the petition points out. “All this without even once owning a slave.”
Since the petition’s creation, over 22,400 people have signed in support, nearly reaching the page’s 25,000 goal. “Missy is all of us,” the petition reads. “Missy is everything the Confederacy was not.”
But responses are mixed. Some are in full of support of the statue, believing that Elliott is the perfect replacement for a monument dedicated to a white supremacist nation’s soldiers.
This is a good petition. https://t.co/HphGCZ9Fru— Ernie Smith (@ShortFormErnie) August 21, 2017
Best petition ever. Flip it and reverse it! https://t.co/HrpDbFwsbz— Laura Brown (@laurabrown99) August 20, 2017
Hey ya'll SIGN this dyam ting! https://t.co/nXsBX8JJTE— Jade Anouka (@JadeAnouka) August 20, 2017
But some want the Confederate monument to remain, going so far as to claim that Elliott simply isn’t important enough to receive a statue.
So if a statue in Virginia is replaced with a statue of Missy Elliott...and someone is offended by it, it's okay to vandalize or destroy it?— Angela.Kay (@DeepSouthProud) August 20, 2017
Confederate monuments remain in the spotlight after the white supremacist violence in Charlotteville, Virgina, rocked the country last week, which was instigated by the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. On Tuesday, Baltimore removed its Confederate monuments overnight, as did the University of Texas in Austin just this morning. In Durham, North Carolina, protesters toppled a statue dedicated to Confederate troops, while others are vandalizing ones that haven’t been slated for removal.