Missy Elliott on Busta Rhymes Scolding Concertgoers for Using Phones

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Missy Elliott is standing behind her longtime friend and tourmate, Busta Rhymes. While chatting with ET about her first-ever headlining tour — Out of This World – The Missy Elliott Experience — the 53-year-old musician weighed in on Busta’s recent concert for the 2024 Essence Festival of Culture, which went viral when the actor scolded his audience for being on their phones.

The incident in question occurred during the 52-year-old rapper’s July 5 performance in New Orleans, Louisiana. In recorded footage shared on social media, Busta gets visibly frustrated with concertgoers after noticing them seated and seemingly on their phones during his set. 

“Ayo f**k them camera phones, too. Let’s get back to interacting like humans,” he said onstage. “Put them weird a** devices down! I ain’t from that era. Them s**ts don’t control the soul, f**k your phone!”

Busta Rhymes performs onstage during Day 1 of the 2024 ESSENCE Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola at Caesars Superdome on July 05, 2024Josh Brasted/Getty Images for ESSENCE

Busta then began singling out concertgoers, saying, “I will point every last one of y’all out until y’all a**es is up!”

“I ain’t used to n****s sitting down at my show. I don’t give a f**k,” he called out, harking back to earlier shows in his three-decade-long career.

He then commanded “all age groups” to “get y’all big head a**es up” so he could continue his debut performance at the New Orleans festival. 

“The reason why there will be zero tolerance for bulls**t energy in here is because this is my first time in New Orleans at the f**king 30-year anniversary of the Essence Fest,” Busta said as he stood onstage alongside his longtime collaborator and hype man, Spliff Star. “Make me feel like we home!”

When asked whether she agrees with her Out of This World tourmate’s sentiments, Missy tells ET that she wishes “people could live in the moment like how we did.”

“If you go back and you watch, like, old Janet [Jackson] performances, old Bobby Brown performances, you’re watching these people and there were no phones. So all you heard was screams, people dancing, they were in the moment,” the Supa Dupa Fly artist recalls. “I wish it was [like] that, but also we’re clearly not living in that time now.”

But Missy concedes that she can also understand the desire to capture the moment in real time. “I know me, if I was at my show, I would want to have my phone up because I would be like, ‘Oh my god, there’s stuff coming at you, I don’t want to miss this!’ So it’s like a catch-22 in a sense.”

Missy Elliott kicked off her Out of This World Tour on July 4Alexis Smith with crowdMGMT, @Lexi.Photography0414 with @crowdMGMT

“I come from a different era where we didn’t have that so of course I miss that,” she adds. “But then I understand at the same [time] why they would want to put their phones up and get everything.”

Fans definitely had a lot to capture during the singer’s recent interstellar event, Missy Elliott Presents Party on the Plaza: An Out of This World Experience, hosted in partnership with The Music Center and Gloria Molina Grand Park. 

The galactic dance party was held on Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center on Wednesday and featured live DJs and Missy’s tour dancers leading the dance challenge kicked off by Missy herself on her birthday, July 1. 

The event was the perfect bridge to amp up anticipation for the singer’s back-to-back headline dates at Crypto.com Arena on July 11 and July 12.


Missy tells ET that one of her choreographers began the dance challenge and calls it a “blessing” to see how fans responded. 

“I said, those dancers are hungry and that’s what I love about it, they’re hungry,” she recalls. “Seeing everybody out there is a blessing, especially when you’ve been doing it for so long. It’s not an easy thing to be in this industry that long and people still show up and show out, so I am humbly grateful. Like I told them, I wanted them to know I’m appreciative.” 

She adds, “I don’t think just because I’m Missy that you’re supposed to do this, absolutely not! They don’t have to and they do and I’m thankful.”

The singer reflected on how much it means to be embraced by the dance community, telling ET that she’s always been a big fan of the work dancers do. “There once was a time where they were heavily always needed but never respected at the level that they should have been, so to see them get their flowers… Because they do hard work; it’s hours and hours they be at video shoots, maybe not getting fed sometimes or they got to go at the craft table after everyone went through it, you know? I’ve seen a lot of things happen to dancers and they work hard, so, you know I’m gonna always support the dance community and I’m glad that they support me.”

“And when I do my music, when I’m in the studio, I don’t record just to make hot records. I’m in there thinking of the dancers when I make my record every single time,” she declares.

Fans can see Missy alongside CiaraBusta Rhymes, and even legendary producer Timbaland on her first-ever headlining tour, Out of This World – The Missy Elliott Experience.

The 30-date North American tour kicked off on July 4 with a sold-out concert at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, with DJ Navarris, and will end on Aug. 22 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Click HERE for all the dates.

Both Ciara and Busta previously admitted to ET that they were working on ideas for their own respective tours this year, but getting the call from Missy changed everything up.

“If I’mma really go to this place and get back into this bag, it’s gonna have to be because I don’t really got a choice, know what I’m saying?” Busta shared. “If I’mma be amongst this level of greatness… We are the ones that kind of birthed this whole freeness in the hip-hop thing — this whole courageous and colorful and outlandish, having fun and just bringing the imagination to life in a new way.”

“[Missy is] like one of the goddesses of this particular space,” he added. “I find the most comfort going in this bag with my sis and with my other sis because this is what they’ve been doing anyway.”


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