"It was just kind of mind boggling because you've never seen anything like Missy Elliott's videos," H.E.R. tells PEOPLE

By Darlene Aderoju
January 29, 2020 09:00 AM
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When Missy Elliott and H.E.R. get together, you know they’re going to work it.

Missy Elliott, 48, and H.E.R., 22, are starring in Pepsi’s Super Bowl LIV game-day commercial which will air on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs compete for the championship title.

Talking with PEOPLE about collaborating on their music video inspired commercial for Pepsi Zero Sugar, the rap superstar — who performed with Katy Perry at the Super Bowl Halftime show in 2015 — detailed her excitement to team up with H.E.R.

“When I first got the call about doing the Super Bowl commercial, I was honored,” she tells PEOPLE. “I believe this is my fifth one. Each time is like the first because it’s always a big deal. I’m always calling everybody in my family like, ‘Make sure you crush it this year.'”

“When Pepsi reached out, I didn’t know who I was going to be doing it with,” she says. “Then they said, ‘H.E.R.’ so I’m most definitely honored because I at least talked to her a few years ago on Twitter.”

Missy Elliott and H.E.R.
Noam Galai/Getty; Leon Bennett/Getty

When the hip-hop icon reached out to H.E.R. on Twitter, the singer says she couldn’t hold back her excitement.

“I definitely fangirled when she tweeted me before we even met,” she recalls. “I was going crazy. I was like, ‘Yo, Missy Elliott tweeted me. She’s a fan. She’s listening to my music.'”

H.E.R. is also stoked to be starring alongside the rap veteran in the commercial.

“Words cannot describe; it’s honestly surreal for me,” she says. “Because, it’s a Super Bowl commercial and it’s Pepsi and I can never believe these opportunities when they happen. I don’t know what it is, but there is something really special about this specific commercial. Especially the fact that I got to work with Missy for a really iconic song and Timbaland as well. It’s surreal. It’s amazing.”

H.E.R. and Missy Elliott
Pepsi
Pepsi

While this is the first time the two have worked together, Missy Elliott says she learned of H.E.R. and became a fan of the musician long beforehand.

“One of my friends had put me on to her music. I didn’t know who she was. I Googled her so many times, because I’m like, ‘Who is this artist? I love her music.’ But at the time she only had a silhouette,” she tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t know who she was. There was no performances of her, but I just loved her record. I would wig out to her records. I would go down the street and listen to this person that I didn’t know. I found her on Twitter and I tweeted her. I met her actually at Janet Jackson‘s tribute in Atlanta.”

“We spoke then and said how we needed to get together to do something,” Elliott recalls. “Then Pepsi said, ‘Hey, we’re doing a Pepsi Zero Sugar commercial and we want you to be a part of it, with H.E.R.’ and then I mentioned having Timbaland come in to do the beat.”

Pepsi

“That was the icing on the cake,” she says. “You got three masterminds coming together. It was amazing just being in the studios together. She plays the guitar, and she’s a musician. Not someone who’s just an artist, but a musician. It’s amazing to me.”

H.E.R. says she has always been a fan of Missy Elliott as well.

“Every Missy video, when I was a kid watching them, was memorable,” she tells PEOPLE. “It was always unique. It was always different and that’s kinda what I took from Missy growing up — individuality, and uniqueness. She’s so clever and it was just mind-boggling because you’ve never seen anything like Missy Elliott’s videos. There’s nothing else out there like it.”

In addition to working with the music trailblazer on the commercial, H.E.R. has another special connection to Super Bowl LIV.

H.E.R.
Pepsi

“It’s honestly a full circle moment because I’m from the Bay Area,” she tells PEOPLE. “The fact that it’s the Niners in the Super Bowl this year, that’s like basically my home team. It’s kind of crazy that this is my first Super Bowl commercial. That’s a big deal.”

Missy Elliott and H.E.R., who joked about who the coach would throw in the game at the last minute, are both looking forward to collaborating together again in the near future.

“We most definitely know that it’s more to happen,” Missy Elliott tells PEOPLE. “We shopped some ideas and stuff around while we were working. We most definitely know that it’s going to happen, especially after the Super Bowl. Sooner than later.”

The star has some advice for new artists.

“Don’t ever doubt yourself,” Missy Elliott says. “I always support artists. We are human and there are ups and downs, the music industry doesn’t teach people that. The music comes in and it’s not always gonna be flat-out happy and success all the time. There are ups and downs; just know that you are amazing.”

In February when the Super Bowl airs and the commercial debuts, the two will be celebrating Black History Month.

“We honor each other every single day, not just Black History Month,” H.E.R. tells PEOPLE. “Everything I do, I try to be proud of both of my cultures, my Filipino culture and my black culture. I just walk in that. I try to celebrate that every single day and celebrate other people. We get to acknowledge what is and celebrate each other.”

“I celebrate every day of the year,” Missy Elliott tells PEOPLE. “I’m proud to be black.”