Missy Elliott tried not to ''cry'' as she collected the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) on Monday night (26.08.19).

The 48-year-old rapper was handed the prestigious accolade - which was awarded for her music video contributions over the years - at the Prudential Center in New Jersey by Cardi B, who hailed the 'Work It' hitmaker a ''living legend'' in her introduction.

She said: ''Nobody deserves to be in the Video Vanguard more than Missy.

''She changed the music video art-form completely with her style, humour and unforgettable creativity.

''Missy has inspired countless women to find their own voice and stand up for themselves.

''She's a voice we need.''

An emotional Missy reacted: ''Cardi, sis, thank y'all for such an intro.''

During her speech, the 'Tempo' hitmaker - who had performed a medley of her greatest hits 'Past That Dutch', 'Work It' and 'Lose Control' - admitted it ''means so much'' to her and thanked her fans for their support over the past two decades.

She said: ''I promised I wouldn't cry this time because I cry at every awards.

''But this Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award means so much to me.

''I've worked diligently for over two decades and I never thought that I would be standing up here receiving this award, so it means so much to me.

''I promise y'all, it don't go unnoticed the support and love you'd showed to me over the years.''

Missy follows in the footsteps of the likes of Rihanna, Madonna, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Kanye West in being awarded the prize.

The hip-hop star performed for the first time in 16 years at the ceremony and had a special treat in store for fans, as she brought out special guest dancer Alyson Stoner, who appeared in her 'Work It' music video in 2003 a child.

The 'Tempo' star also dedicated part of her speech to dancers.

She said: ''Lastly, I want to dedicate this to the dance community all around the world. Because when you get on the stage with these artists ... y'all are not just props. Y'all are the beat to the heart.''

A pre-filmed segment also saw the likes of Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell and Lizzo heap praise on Missy.