A petition to replace a Confederate monument in Portsmouth, Va. with a statue of hometown rapper Missy Elliott surpassed its initial target of 15,000 signatures in four days and has left the Grammy-winning artist “humbled.”
Nathan Coflin, a Portsmouth native, filed a change.org petition last week to take white supremacy, “flip it and reverse it” by replacing the town’s Confederate monument in the town square with an ode to Misdemeanor, who was born in Portsmouth on July 1, 1971. Coflin wrote:
Hailing from humble beginnings as the only child of a power company dispatcher and a welder at Portsmouth’s lauded naval shipyard, she rose to become a platinum recording artist with over 30-million albums sold. All this without even once owning a slave.
Coflin’s petition, currently just over 2300 signatures shy of its amended 25,000 target, calls Elliott a, “true Portsmouth native hero.” He eventually plans to deliver it to Portsmouth Mayor John L. Rowe, the vice mayor, and members of the city council.
He admitted that he was surprised to see the petition gain so much traction in so little time.
“I thought it was kind of a pipe dream,” he said. “But the more it got out there and the more exposure it’s getting, the more I think it’s a real possibility. People are taking it seriously — whether the Portsmouth City Council will take it seriously is another matter.”
Responding to a Tweet about the petition, Elliott said the petition “warms my heart and it’s so humbling to me.”
The Portsmouth Confederate monument, located at the corner of Court and High streets, is a 35-foot obelisk marked “To Our Confederate Dead.” Rowe called this week for hauling the statue to a nearby cemetery with a large section of Confederate graves, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
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