Virginia man Nathan Coflin has started a Change.org petition to replace a Confederate monument in Portsmouth, in the state’s southwest, with a statue of Missy Elliott.
The petition, addressed to Portsmouth Mayor John L Rowe and the rest of the City Council, asks a simple question: “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 ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliott?”
American national treasure Missy Elliott was born in Portsmouth in 1971. The petition goes on to describe Elliott’s transition from the only child of a welder in Portsmouth’s naval shipyard to platinum recording artist: “All this without even once owning a slave.”
The Civil War monument in the city was built over five years, 1876 to 1881, and has unfortunately been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1997 – which probably makes it untouchable, even in the wake of violence from white supremacist groups in nearby Charlottesville.
The letter to council argues that Elliott is representative of the “diversity and spirit” of the city, its “inclusion, perseverance and prosperity“.
Coflin puts together a pretty enticing call to action: “Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it.”
And closes on the powerful note:
“Missy is all of us.
Missy is everything the Confederacy was not.“
At the time of writing, Coflin’s petition had 10,083 supporters.
He’s also set up a fundraiser to purchase sponsored ads on social media and to print flyers and promo material for the campaign, which may not just be a big ol’ joke. As yet there are no donors towards the $200 goal – but he only started it today, cut him some slack.
The idea has gained a lot of traction online.
Please sign the petition if you have any of the following:
-Thick legs (in shape)
-Rump shaking (both ways)
— 𝕟𝕒𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕟✨ (@NateBlanchett) August 20, 2017
— Rubén (@xoxorubenangel) August 19, 2017
“Together we can put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it.”
— Anandi A. Premlall ⚜❤🌴 (@AAPremlall) August 19, 2017
And Coflin’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by the queen herself.
I don’t know what to say🙏🏾 just to see this warms my heart and it’s so humbling to me🙏🏾
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 19, 2017