Music fans can be quite fickle. Anytime an artist decides to change part of what made fans fall in love with them in the first place, the artist runs the risk of alienating them and turning them off of a new project or single. However, if the thing the artist changes is their physical appearance, usually in the form of a new stylistic choice, those fans can be a lot more forgiving in some ways — and lot meaner in others. For instance, on New Year’s day, Usher debuted a new hairstyle — a throwback, apparently Rat Pack-inspired pompadour that he seemed pretty proud of — and fans dug deep in their joke bags to start off 2019 with its first big celebrity roast.
Given that Black artists like Usher haven’t really adopted the perm (or “conk”) look since the Rat Pack was in fashion sometime in the ’50s, it’s no surprise that the new ‘do was considered a little unusual. While a few other artists have tried the look, like fellow Atlantan Yung Joc, none have really been able to get the throwback style to catch on — and all have caught similar levels of hell for the attempt. Even actor Trevor Jackson caught flak for it, despite the fact that he had an ostensibly good reason: He was cast as the lead in the 2018 remake of Blaxploitation classic Superfly, and as Youngblood Priest, the look was at least somewhat integral to his character’s rebellious, classic charm.
While some compared Usher to other artists or pointed out how the new look nearly convincingly disguised his ethnic heritage, many were content to simply dunk on him for adopting the old-school look. Hopefully, he’s got thick skin and a good sense of humor. Check out some of most outrageous responses below.