What runs through your mind when you hear the phrase “work it?” A rallying cry for people to pose for cameras or walk runways? For some, that’s true. But for many fans of the award-winning female hip-hop artist Missy Elliot, it means much more.
This is the title of the hit single that peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and won the Video of The Year award at the MTV Awards in 2002. This song and its album, Under Construction, won Missy a Grammy. So, believe me when I say it was huge.
Other than a few features songs, guest appearances, and the odd live performances, Missy Elliot’s fans have been content with memories of her past glory. Neither Missy or her fans thought that 2018 would bring her to the spotlight again.
Mary Halsey, at a glance, looks like your average 58-year-old woman. During the day, she works as a recreational assistant at the Coventry Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Warwick, Rhode Island. “What does she have to do with Missy?” you ask. Well, she’s Missy’s ordained “funky white sister.” What? You heard me.
Bringing It Back
One summer afternoon, still clad in her work scrubs, Mary gave a ‘world-class’ performance of Work It at a party held at the Goddard Memorial State Park. With a mic in one hand and a shofar (a type of ancient horn used as a musical instrument) casually in the other, Mary gave a rendition that took the internet and troll heaven by storm and even got Missy Elliot’s attention. Sit down for this one.
The short clip starts with Mary looking to the side waiting for the “beat mistress” to do her thing. Missy’s track comes on with a funky beat. Anyone who hasn’t met Mary before would think this was a joke or a mistake. I mean, she’s 58-years-old and wearing scrubs, right? But once you see her wave that shofar and tilt her head, you know she means business.
Boy does she know what she’s doing. She doesn’t miss a single beat. At first, you’ll think it’s ridiculous but then you start to realize she’s actually good at this. So much so that Missy Elliot herself admits in a tweet, “I just found out I have a FUNKY WHITE SISTER… but she straight killed ‘Work It’ sound effects and all. I love it.” The video has been shared nearly 200,000 and has more than 10 million views.
I just found out I have a FUNKY WHITE SISTER😳😩😂🤣 forreal doe😂🤣& she brought her home girl with her from da hood that keep tip toeing in the background with a plate of food🤣 yo I’m done!😂 but she straight killed “Work It” sound effects & all🙌🏾 I love it🔥🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/Rg9TTHAqu2
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 8, 2018
You’d think that’s it, but it turns out that this is Mary’s thing. She performs regularly at one the town’s local restaurants and everyone loves it. In an interview with NBC Boston, she jokingly admits,
“People wait for me. They’re like, ‘you’re gonna sing your song, right? You’re gonna sing your song.’ It’s my song now. Sorry, Missy,”
They even gave her the name “Missy Mary.” Get it? Missy Elliot – Mary Halsey? She has a few more of her ‘live’ performances on her Facebook page here.
What gets people the most is the part in the lyrics where Missy Elliot play a verse in reverse. Mary goes all the way without leaving any beat out. If that isn’t commitment, I don’t what is. Here’s a link to the official music video by Missy Elliot. Compare the two and tell me Missy Mary isn’t killing it!
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Fun times at Goddard Park!Feel free to share ;) Warning: explicit lyrics lol ;)
Posted by Mary Halsey on Sunday, July 29, 2018