missy elliott honorary doctorate berkley justin timberlake
Getty Images / Craig Barritt

That’s Doctor Missy Elliott to you. The hip-hop icon and five-time Grammy Award-winner was joined on stage by Justin Timberlake at Berklee College of Music in Boston this weekend as they received their honorary doctorates. The two received the honor during the university’s Commencement ceremony.

Elliott is the first hip hop artist to receive the honorary degree from the college. Dressed in Versace, Elliott was recognized as a “groundbreaking solo superstar, pioneering producer, songwriter, singer, and rapper.”

CBS Boston reports that Elliot told the graduating class, “There will be ups and downs — prepare for that,” concluding that, “as long as you are breathing, it is never too late. Don’t forget that. You have come too far to quit.”

Timberlake also had some wisdom to impart, saying “You’re defined by what you define failure as. It’s not a thing if it leads you to your success. It’s all part of the journey.”

Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.

What To Read Next