In 2024, the iconic multi-platinum artist takes center stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, showcasing a storied career that beckons.

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In 2024, the iconic multi-platinum artist takes center stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, showcasing a storied career that beckons.

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As the younger denizens of the internet are discovering, mentioning Usher Raymond can stir the passions of at least two generations.

Consider me among that crowd.

After the announcement of Usher headlining the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show, he sat down with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss the upcoming February 11, 2024 performance.

Calling in from Paris, where he’s in the midst of a short residency at La Seine Musicale, Usher shared, “This is going to be a moment etched in memory.

He went on, “This stage is the grandest I’ve ever had the privilege to perform on. It’s been a long-standing aspiration of mine, a question I’ve been asked countless times – ‘What matters most to you?’ Performing on this stage is one of those paramount moments, given the legacy of extraordinary artists who have graced it over the years.”

For many of Usher’s fans, particularly vocal millennials like myself, there has long been a lingering question: Why hasn’t Usher been invited to headline the halftime show? Especially when compared to artists with lower sales, less fame, and arguably, less skill.

Since teaming up with the NFL in 2019 to produce the Halftime Show, Roc Nation has curated a lineup including Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, The Weeknd, a hip-hop extravaganza featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Rihanna.

Credit By Photo: www.bet.com

When I received this call, he said, ‘It’s time, it’s magic time. You know, it’s time for you to have that moment.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?'” Usher recounted. “He said, ‘The Super Bowl.’ I responded, ‘Oh, you’re ready? Absolutely.'”

While many of us celebrated the decision, some raised questions about its appropriateness.

A tweet that garnered attention on the day of the announcement, originally posted months prior, resurfaced across various social media platforms for its controversial take. The tweet read: “I know y’all think Usher should perform the next SB but I don’t think he has enough pop/hip-hop hits.”

After receiving a wave of backlash from the Black community, she followed up with:

“You all are being deliberately obtuse. Not R&B. Pop. Crossover hits. He doesn’t have enough pop hits for a 13 min medley performance. It’ll be okay. This isn’t a diss to Usher the artist. Because you don’t think they would’ve considered him? Beyoncé would be a better choice.

While “Beyoncé would be a better choice” is typically my stance, even Beyoncé would endorse Usher.

If I may indulge in some fandom, Usher boasts an impressive nine No. 1 singles:

  1. Nice & Slow
  2. U Remind Me
  3. Yeah!
  4. U Got It Bad
  5. Confessions Part II
  6. Burn
  7. My Boo
  8. Love In This Club
  9. OMG

Admittedly, there are two that I could do without, but the key point is that they’re undeniable hits and can easily fill a 13-minute slot.

Regarding the ongoing debate over what defines pop versus R&B, if the core criterion for pop is crossover success, then Usher, who Billboard recognized as the biggest male artist of the 2000s, certainly fits the bill.

This brings to mind the time Justin Timberlake, who admittedly had a stellar debut album, was hailed as the next King of Pop, despite Usher outselling him.

In addition to his string of hits, Usher boasts several multi-platinum albums, including his 2004 release, “Confessions,” which sold over 1.1 million copies in its first week and went on to achieve diamond certification, an accolade reserved for albums that have sold 10 million units or more.

Regarding album sales, Usher’s peers are Mariah Carey, TLC, Adele, Michael Jackson, and the Beatles.

Again, he is pop enough.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of Confessions and instead of debating whether or not he’s not big enough, prep and learn some of the words of the hits.

This is only one opinion, but others chimed in with the same nonsense.

The doubting of Usher’s stature has happened before this, anyway — particularly when it came to whether or not he would lose to Chris Brown in a Verzuz.

Much as I hate how intense some have gotten over what started as a pandemic singalong among peers and fans on IG, as talented and successful as Chris Brown is, Usher is Usher, and dimming his light would boost anyone else’s.

In fairness to the uninformed who fail to Google before publicly criticizing R&B legends online, I understand that most of them are younger and, presumably,  judging him by the 2010s when he picked that glow stick.

That hit, “OMG!” will surely get some space at the Super Bowl as it’s his last biggest hit, but I worried at the time if the EDM era might cloud his legacy with some audiences.

Regardless, there has been a noticeable campaign in recent years to remind people what a big deal Usher is.

From his sold-out Las Vegas residencies at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace and the Park MGM to his viral NPR Tiny Desk concert, his timeless catalog is getting the recognition it deserves.

Following the Halftime Show performance, Usher will also release his ninth albumComing Home, and reportedly launch a global tour.

It’s his own kind of renaissance and it is well earned and deserved.

For those unfamiliar with Usher’s legacy, hopefully, the show introduces them to the star so many love already.

Also, it shows younger viewers what can happen when there is a budget at the label for A & R, dance class, and vocal lessons. After that, those who talked slicker about Usher will apologize to the legend and his fans — your parents, aunts, uncles, and big cousins.

Reference

https://www.bet.com/article/zit3yk/opinion-ushers-super-bowl-show-will-prove-the-young-doubters-wrong

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