Usher fans aren’t sure what to make of the singer’s recent Vogue cover.
The Super Bowl 2024 headliner is the star of the magazine’s winter digital cover story, published on Wednesday 17 January, in which he discussed his Vegas residency as well as what he is doing to prepare for his halftime performance next month.
However, many fans took to the joint Instagram post with the singer and publication to question the cover. The photo features a boys youth football team in red and white jerseys with model Carolyn Murphy on the right side wearing a matching black sequined blazer and skirt. Usher, who is positioned in the very back of the group shot, is holding one of the football players over on the left side.
The majority of the criticism centered around why the cover story’s main character was not the centre of the photo and almost “hidden”.
“What does Carolyn Murphy have to do with Usher?” one commenter questioned. “Why does Usher, who’s had such a long and expansive career, need to have a model to share his cover with? Why does every time a Black man has a Vogue cover, it’s having to share it with a white model?”
“How is the star in the background?” another commenter questioned.
“He deserves the whole cover, and the concept makes no sense. Y’all really missed and messed this one up. Fix it. Period,” a third person agreed.
In the cover story itself, the Grammy winner explained that he felt his Super Bowl performance in Las Vegas “has to be perfect”.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” he told the outlet. “I want people who have been a part of that journey to feel like it’s a celebration for everybody, for all of us, from the beginning up until this point.”
Giving some hints on what the halftime show will look like, he added that there will be at least one costume change, as well as special guests that will make the audience feel like they are being serenaded as “R&B takes the main stage”.
“People will tune in for a football game, but I hope when they look at that halftime performance, I’m hoping they walk away with something that’s healing them,” he said. “Something that makes them feel hopeful, and not just look at the past, but have hope for the future, and have hope for a different type of future than we’re looking at right now in the present.”
It was first announced that the singer would be headlining the halftime show back in September 2023. The music megastar, who has won eight Grammys, said at the time that he’s looking forward to performing on the NFL’s biggest stage.
“It’s an honour of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list,” Usher said in a statement following the announcement. “I can’t wait to bring the world a show unlike anything else they’ve seen from me before.”
Roc Nation founder Jay-Z called Usher the ultimate “artist and showman” and was the person to call him with the good news, according to an interview with radio DJ Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. “When I got this call, he said: ‘It’s time, it’s magic time. You know, it’s time for you to have that moment,’” Usher recalled Jay-Z telling him over the phone.
However, the “I Don’t Mind” hitmaker had no idea what Jay-Z was talking about, and the rapper had to clarify that he was calling about the Super Bowl halftime show. In response, Usher told Jay-Z that he was prepared and excited to do something he’s always dreamed about doing.
ââ“Beyond his flawless singing and exceptional choreography, Usher bares his soul,” Jay-Z said about the singer “His remarkable journey has propelled him to one of the grandest stages in the world. I can’t wait to see the magic.”