By Sharee Silerio

A Change.org petition started by Nathan Coflin wants to replace Portsmouth, Virginia’s Confederate monument with a statue of one of its most successful natives – producer, dancer and rapper Missy Elliott.

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As citizens around the nation protest, topple and destroy Confederate statues, symbols and history, it makes sense to think of what should stand in their place.

If you could replace a Confederate statue and monument with a statue honoring a person, group or idea, what would you choose?

How about Barack Obama? Michelle Obama? Marcus Garvey? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Malcolm X? Rosa Parks? Henrietta Lacks?

Coflin believes that a statue of Elliott is the perfect replacement for the 35-foot monument in Olde Towne Portsmouth, erected in the late 1800s for “the Confederate dead of Portsmouth and Norfolk County.”

The petition asks, “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 call for fans to support the request mentions Elliot’s rise from humble beginnings to become a platinum recording artist, with over 30 million albums sold.

“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! Missy is all of us. Missy is everything the Confederacy was not,” the petition says (emphasis as written in petition).

Using some of Missy’s most notable lyrics, Coflin uses social media to draw a diverse group of petition supporters.

The five-time-Grammy-award-winning artist has always been one of my favorites, and I’m excited to see that her hometown wants to honor her greatness, creativity and individuality in such a public way.

She always had my cousins and me dancing, singing and rapping along with her videos. We couldn’t get enough of “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”!

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Coflin said,

“Missy is Portsmouth’s hometown icon. The mayor of Portsmouth has already declared his support for moving the current monument from where it stands to a nearby cemetery where Confederate soldiers are buried. This will leave a void where the current one stands. Missy represents the diversity of Portsmouth and what hard work and perseverance can do. An inspiration to the town.”

As of today, the petition has 28,249 signatures of the 35,000 requested.

Are you going to sign the petition for a Missy Elliott statue? If you could replace any statue with one of your choice, what would you replace it with?

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Sharee Silerio is a St. Louis-based freelance writer, Film and TV writer-producer, and blogger. When she isn’t creating content for The Root or The St. Louis American, she enjoys watching drama/sci-fi/comedy movies and TV shows, writing faith and self-love posts for SincerelySharee.com, relaxing with a cup of chai tea, crafting chic DIY event décor, and traveling. Review her freelance portfolio at ShareeSilerio.com then connect with her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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