American rapper, Missy Elliot has received a honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.
The five-time Grammy Award winner broke down in tears before offering words of wisdom to Berklee’s graduating class upon receiving her degree.
“I don’t even know how I’m standing here, but I thank y’all, I thank God,” she said. “I just want y’all to know, there will be ups and downs. Prepare for that, but don’t give up. I know you may hear that all the time, but if I had given up long ago, I wouldn’t be standing here today. You have come too far to quit.”
She went on to talk about the various trials and tribulations she’s weathered throughout her career, from dealing with archaic beauty standards on the come-up to losing out on awards and coping with Graves disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2011.
“I became ill where I couldn’t even write,” she said. “My nervous system shut down on me. I thought, ‘This was it’ — is no need for me to keep going. But something in my spirit, the drive, and the patience, as long as you are breathing, it is never too late. People will tell you you’re too old. People will tell you it would never work. Don’t believe that, because I’m standing here today.”
In closing, she joked around that she’ll be wearing her cap and gown again, and frequently: “in the shower, in all my next videos, everywhere I go!”