Usher appears on the cover of Vogue's winter 2024 digital issue.
The musician is joined by eight other people in the cover image.
Fans online criticized the cover for obscuring Usher and positioning him in the background.
Usher finally made his Vogue debut after 30 years in the music industry, but you probably wouldn't immediately clock him on his own cover.
On Wednesday, Vogue dropped its winter 2024 digital issue, featuring Usher as its cover star. It's a big moment in the eight-time Grammy winner's career, but the significance has been undermined by a cluttered cover photo that places Usher in the background.
Here's why the image has sparked backlash online.
Usher is barely visible on his own cover
Usher's first-ever Vogue cover comes weeks before February 11, when he'll headline the Super Bowl halftime show in Las Vegas. The "My Way" singer's name appears in bold white lettering in the lower center of the digital cover, along with the phrase "Super Bowl MVP."
At first glance, it's difficult to know where or who the eyes should focus on.
Usher isn't front-and-center in the image, which was taken on a football field. Instead, he's surrounded by seven boys from the Jr Gaels tackle football team. Usher is placed in the second row, off to the left side, holding up one of the young athletes on his right shoulder while he gives the camera a thumbs up.
Inexplicably, model Carolyn Murphy appears on the far right side, gazing adoringly at Usher. She's also featured in other images from the photo shoot and calls Usher "a gentleman, truly a rarity" in the cover story.
Fans are outraged that Usher wasn't given a solo cover
Usher is certainly not an unknown musician. In addition to releasing eight studio albums and a string of hit songs like "Yeah!" and "My Boo," the R&B icon recently wrapped up a 100-show Vegas residency.
Usher is one of few male stars, and even fewer Black men, who have graced the cover of American Vogue. The "Burn" singer being joined by a white model felt reminiscent of the time the publication paired basketball legend LeBron James with model Gisele Bündchen for its controversial April 2008 cover.
Given his status and accomplishments, people were baffled that Vogue decided on other people sharing Usher's spotlight for the magazine cover. They expressed disappointment and said that the cover missed the mark.
So… lemme get this right.. Vogue didn’t think Usher was a big enough star for HIS OWN SOLO cover … so they called in a random white lady to accompany him??? https://t.co/syfPaJQqdK
— Deets (@ScottieBeam) January 17, 2024
Can someone explain to me why Usher’s Vogue cover looks like a Where’s Waldo book? I’m late to the party, but we all agree he deserved better, yes? 👀 pic.twitter.com/eXRoeVa1qE
— Jade Novah (@JadeNovah) January 18, 2024
Usher’s Vogue cover is awful. The concept is unnecessary and poorly executed. It certainly isn’t a celebration of him and his legendary career.
— Mrs. Cole-Siriboe-Tatum-Beckham-Diggs-Hurts (@Fabulousity201) January 17, 2024
She’s not a random white woman she’s a supermodel and her name is Carolyn Murphy.
But Vogue needs to STOP feeling the need to “ground” their covers with Black male entertainers with white supermodels. It’s utterly tacky, Usher is a global superstar. https://t.co/TbcouD7dzv
— Nat (@SaintLaruntz) January 17, 2024
Representatives for Vogue didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
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