Screen Shot 2023 04 10 at 5.11.03 PM 0bf28

Missy Elliott Reminds Barbie Movie Fans that She Did it First

by Faith Green

The new “Barbie” movie has fans in an uproar, and it also has some celebrities feeling nostalgic. The live action film is set to come out July 21, and is filled with stars like Ryan Gosling, Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, and Issa Rae. The trailer dropped on Tuesday, April 4th, and it has the Internet ablaze with memes, criticisms, and Tiktok filters. But one celebrity in particular is finding the “Barbie” movie nostalgic. In honor of the new Barbie film, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott posted a throwback to her 1997 video “Beep Me 911” on Friday April 7th, just to remind us that she’s been setting trends since last millennium.

“Beep Me 911” is a Barbie themed music video collaboration with the R&B girl group 702, and is directed by Earle Sebastian. The video is set in a dollhouse and features neon pink backgrounds paired with striking metallic outfits. 702 makes their appearance in campy body-con dresses that Mattel would be proud of. To further the theme of the video, Elliott and the backup dancers move stiffly, and the video is primarily filmed in stop-motion, as if to mirror the movement of Barbie Dolls. Elliott initially received backlash for the video’s kitschy aesthetics, and she wasn’t shy about bringing that up, stating that people “clowned” on her when they first saw the video. This isn’t the first time Elliott has brought up her innovative and trendsetting music videos. In a 2018 Twitter post, she emphasized how her creativity sparked backlash, citing the music video for “Beep Me 911” as a prime example. 

Even though Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” premiered around the same time, Elliott’s edgy and sensual take on the Barbie kingdom was something else entirely, and her influence remains unmatched. Video effects that Elliott has used, like fish-eye lenses, digital words flashing on-screen, and stop-motion animation, have been seen in videos like Beyonce’s “7/11,” Rihanna’s “Rude Boy,” and P!nk’s “Get The Party Started.” “Beep Me 911” has even had an influence on the music videos of today; Megan Thee Stallion & Cardi B’s music video collaboration for their song “WAP” features an homage to the flamboyant dollhouse aesthetic displayed in Elliott’s 1997 video. 

Elliott has been a mainstay in the mainstream since the early 90s, both performing in her own group, Sista, and writing songs for celebrities like Aaliyah and the girl group Total, as well as co-producing songs for artists like Whitney Houston, Beyonce, and Mariah Carey. Her first album, Supa Dupa Fly debuted on at #3 on the Billboard Top 100, and went platinum as a result of the hit single “The Rain.”  Elliott’s video for 2008’s “Ching-a-Ling ” was the first 3D music video created by a woman, and she’s still making history. In 2020, Supa Dupa Fly was 93 on Billboard’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Earlier this year, it was announced that she would be the first ever female rapper inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s also been a trendsetting icon since she showed up to 1998’s Lilith Fair in what would become her signature garbage-bag style tracksuit; Billboard, NME, and Rolling Stone have all praised the look, and Solange even paid tribute to it at 2017’s Met Gala

As with many things, Elliott was drastically ahead of her time with the styling and creative direction for “Beep Me 911,” and now its overblown maximalist vibes have come full circle. One thing is for sure though, If there’s a Barbie sequel, they need to get Missy Elliott in for a cameo.

Top Photo Credit: Screenshot of “Beep Me 911,” Warner Music Group

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.