A worker at a Rhode Island nursing home has become a viral sensation and won the admiration of Grammy-winning hip-hop star Missy Elliot after video of her singing one of her hit songs tore apart the internet. Mary Halsey, who works as a recreation assistant at Coventry Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, according to her Facebook page, was seen in a video online belting out a badass version of Elliott’s 2002 sex-fueled song “Work It,” which went all the way to No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list — and stayed there for 10 weeks.
Elliot was so taken aback by Halsey’s remarkably authentic performance that she posted the video on her official Instagram account this week. “Wait I just found out I have a FUNKY WHITE SISTER,” Elliott proclaimed in the post, adding that Halsey’s performance hit all of the right details in song. “Yo sis done made the elephant sound too,” Elliott pointed out, referring to a sound effect used in the original recording to cover up what is believed to be an expletive. “I wasn’t ready for her to say put the pussy on ya like I told ya in a low deep voice. She straight up killed ‘Work it’ with the yea yea yea at the beginning & the sound effects & all. My funky white sis.” Halsey stayed very true to Elliott’s original performance, and sang all of the explicit lyrics.
MESSAGE📬 wait I just found out I have a FUNKY WHITE SISTER😳😩🤣😂 but hold up she brought her homegirl to da cookout too😳😂 she the one tiptoeing in the background with a cup of oodles & noodles in her hand😂🤣 Yo sis done made the elephant sound too🐘🤣😂 I wasn’t ready for her to say put the 😸 on ya like I told ya in a low deep voice😩😂she straight up killed “Work it” with the yea yea yea at the beginning & the sound effects & all🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾😂 my funky white sis ft Miss Tippy Toe in the back🔥🤗❤️
The original video, posted by Halsey on her Facebook page is closing in on 10 million views as of this writing. And Elliot was not the only celebrity to share it on social media — several others, including Jada Pinkett Smith have been circulating the performance.
As for Halsey, she’s been largely quiet about her viral success. “Buckle up!” she wrote on Facebook as the video was becoming a smash hit online. “The viral train has taken off!!”
Meanwhile, a coordinated effort to get Ellen DeGeneres to invite Halsey on her show to talk about the video and, perhaps, to perform again is under way. She’s got karaoke covers of several other artists in her repertoire, including Jason Mraz, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. Some covers even include some harmonica skills!