Famous people rang in the New Year with impromptu performances and parties hosted by Drake, as famous people do. Usher, a famous person, shook things up and celebrated by actually practicing the “New Year, New You” mantra instead of simply preaching it.
Usher left 2018 with hair that looked like this:
And emerged on January 1, 2019, with new hair that looked like this:
People were confused.
And just like that, 2019’s first meme was born.
Some speculated (or hoped, rather) that this stylistic decision was for an upcoming role. Others (me) filed the new look under breakup hair (Usher filed for divorce from his estranged wife, Grace Miguel, on Friday). According to his Instagram Stories, everyone was wrong! He straightened his hair for a Rat Pack–themed New Year’s Eve party and this beautiful influencer-worthy photo shoot. This set off alarms across the internet that the singer had permed his hair, which, in the black community, refers to permanently straightening or relaxing one’s hair.
Usher documented some of the getting-ready process on his Instagram Stories with black-and-white snippets of a stylist curling his straightened hair with a curling iron, and applying more and more gel at his direction. There was even a clip of the singer proclaiming “Long hair don’t care!” And he truly doesn’t! While the internet has been dragging his New Year, New Him, People reports that he stated, “This ain’t going nowhere,” on Instagram Live. “I can’t stop touching it! I’m like the black Superman.”
2019 is primed to be the year of a couple of things, like gout and Living Coral, which leaves plenty of room for perms of all kinds. There’s at least one celebrity hairstylist on record as pro perms in 2019, and Yung Joc’s perm is still going strong. Only time will tell if Usher adds some momentum to the movement.