Toronto, Canada native Melyssa Ford, is the most well-known video vixens of all-time. Ford was discovered in the late 90s by famed music producer, and fellow Toronto native, Little X. Shortly after, Ford began a career that would eventually allow her to work with some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest names including Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
Although career as a video model helped lead to other opportunities, Ford quickly became judged for her choices, which many felt were inappropriate. During an interview in 2008, four years after she retired from music videos, Ford addressed this concern during an interview with CNN. Ford stated that she felt that music videos were demeaning to women; an opinion that probably let to her walking away from life on a video set.
Now, more than decade after appearing in her last music video, Ford has moved gotten back in front of the camera; however, this time as a reality TV star in Bravo’s Blood, Sweat & Heels. Despite all the criticism she has received, her career will go down in urban music history as legendary. Here are the best music videos featuring Melyssa Ford.
5. “Happy People” – R. Kelly
Released in 2004, R. Kelly’s “Happy People” was one of the most popular feel-good songs of the year. It was the lead single off of Kelly’s double-album Happy People/U Saved Me, which featured several other positive and up-beat tracks. The video, which was directed by Little X, was Ford’s final music video before moving on to another career. “Happy People” shows an elegant party scene, features Melyssa Ford as one of the party’s lovely attendees. Although her appearance is somewhat brief, it is impossible to miss her as she busts a few moves while sitting at her table.
4. “Knock Yourself Out” – Jadakiss
Who better to star in the video for a song called “Knock Yourself Out” than a knockout like Melyssa Ford? Produced by the Neptunes and featuring Pharrell Williams, Jadakiss’ “Knock Yourself Out” was one of the most exciting songs of the summer of 2001. The song, which features lyrics like, “All I do is get dough, spit flows, try to stay out of trouble/If you ready we could move, just lose your man/Or hit the dance floor, I’ll show you how to do my dance/The estate got 6 locations/Take so long to get to the front once I missed probation,” is a nod to Jadakiss’ lavish lifestyle and the women he shares it with. In this video, Melyssa Ford is the leading lad, who accompanies Jadakiss as he enjoys his mansion and expensive foreign cars. Ford describes the video as “a career defining moment.”
3. “Yeah!” – Usher
Usher’s “Yeah!” was released in 2004 as the lead single for Usher’s album, Confessions. The song was a commercial success, becoming the most played song of 2004, and held the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 12 consecutive weeks. The video was directed by Little X who had worked with Usher on previous music videos. Melyssa Ford, who had previously been discovered by X was called on to be one of the video’s main female characters. Initially, Ford was set to play featured artist, Ludacris’, ‘girl’ in the video. However, Usher and X eventually came up with a different concept. The video, which highlighted Usher’s dance moves, follows usher as he is seduced by two women while at a nightclub. The first woman, convinces Usher to come on to the dance floor; however, it is Ford who is able to lead Usher away from the club. The video was well received by viewers and was nominated for the Michael Jackson Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video at the 2005 Soul Train Music Awards.
2. “Big Pimpin'” – Jay- Z
Jay-Z’ 2000 hit, “Big Pimpin'” has become a modern-day players’ anthem. The song, which was released on Jay-Z’ album, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter, was the album’s most successful single. Although “Big Pimpin'” was a huge commercial success, Jay has since revealed that he is ashamed of the song’s lyrical content. He stated: “Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing. Not “Big Pimpin.” That’s the exception. It was like, I can’t believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.” However, the video remains one of the most lavish hip-hop videos of the early 2000s. During an interview, Ford referred to “Big Pimpin'” as “the best video ever.”
1. “Shake It Fast” – Mystikal
2000’s “Shake It Fast” was the second single released on Mystikal’s album, Let’s Get Ready. Although the album was Mystikal’s fourth, “Shake It Fast” helped him earn mainstream success. The song’s video, directed by Little X, opens with Melyssa Ford in a very crucial role: she’s the girl who slides Mystikal the piece of paper with the address to the party where the rest of the video takes place. Throughout the rest of the video, Ford appears in several scenes with Pharrell Williams, who is featured on the song’s chorus.
(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images For Belvedere)