Getting Dressed with Usher at the BET Awards

Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind Pyer Moss, has been consulting on wardrobe for Usher for months now. Earlier this week Usher took the stage at the BET Awards wearing a leather biker jacket, drop crotch pants, and mesh tee by the designer. Here’s what Kerby had to say about working with the legend, and what’s next for Pyer Moss. 

How did you begin working with Usher and what is your collaborative creative process like? 

Usher’s Stylist Gali Barraza approached me at my SS14 show at Milk Studios. She wandered in by chance and fell in love with the stuff. She started pulling things for him and later they began customizing items, which I happily made. As some of his live shows were coming up and The Voice Season 3 began, I started helping in creating key pieces for his wardrobe regularly. I was recently approached about working with the entire band and dancers beginning with the BET Awards.

Usher and I have similar styles so designing for him is a breeze. For his crew, he wants them all to dress authentically, an extension of their personality. Some are conservative, some need a lot of bling; they are all stars and they all have to shine in their individual ways.

Tell us about the Killer biker jacket and the Ryan mesh tee, and why it was a great fit for Usher.

Usher is a true performer, he does not lip sync and he dances vigorously so he needs breathable clothing, the Killer comes in a lightweight perforated leather option and the Ryan comes in a mesh option with vents that allow him to breathe! We’ve made several of each for him.

What did you think of Usher’s performance? And can you describe what about Usher as a performer and musician really stands out to you?

I watched Usher rehearse for two weeks from morning until 11 p.m. He kept a notepad by his mic the same way I keep a sketchbook in every room in my apartment and office. He is a perfectionist, I thought his performance was flawless, and he reminded everyone why he’s never going anywhere, and why he is the legend he is.

So it sounds like NYFW is coming up for you….tell us about your plans, what we can expect!

You can expect Pyer Moss in its truest form, the evolution of athletic uniforms into high quality menswear pieces. Mixed media is a must. Complex pattern making that make my team cringe is also a must.

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From Usher to Jellyfish: What’s New & Strange At This Year’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

Fourth of July has its formula: for the day, your kitschy red and blue shorts make a comeback, a ketchup-drenched burger and baked beans make their way to your paper plate, and there’s no stifling the requisite oohs-and-aahs amid the explosive fireworks show and orchestral Macy’s music. 

But this year, NYC is igniting Independence Day with some unprecedented, surprising, and bizarre features that don’t really make much logistical sense, but are happening any way. And that’s just the way we like ’em. Take a look:

1. Usher is the show’s "curator."
For the first time ever, Macy’s is collaborating with "a major superstar" on the show’s design and 26-minute score. Since Usher is syncing the fireworks with each musical beat, you can expect every half-naked dancer’s jiggle to be on-point with the high notes of Rihanna’s "Diamonds," Kanye’s "All Of The Lights," and each Justin Bieber song.

2. The show’s theme is "It Begins With A Spark." Talk about foreshadowing. 

3. The fireworks come straight from China, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.

4. Even the Empire State Building is syncing with the fireworks, flashing with each corresponding, colorful firework in the grand finale. 

5. There will be a new winking-happy face firework and a new jellyfish firework from China. The jellyfish whistles as it explodes and bursts open with butterflies. 

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here. 

Eating Cheez-Its With the President: Our Inaugural Ball Recap

Washington, DC woke up this morning with one collectively epic hangover. Let’s face it: a five-day-long celebration is kind of overkill. Yes, there were fancy dresses, open bars, and VIPs (Beyonce! Jay Z! John Legend! Some guy from Gossip Girl, maybe!) and enough parties to crush any notions that this is anything like prom.

Most coverage of yesterday’s Inaugural festivities was about how decidedly “toned down” the events were. Guests had to (get ready for it) actually pay for their own drinks at the two official balls, and Cheez-Its and other previously packaged goods from the bodega around the corner were served to the first twenty people who happened to show up. There were ten official balls last time, but don’t let the numbers fool you. Washington, DC this past weekend was more an embarrassment of riches than what current economic conditions would have you believe.

Balls started last Thursday and included a Kids Ball where Usher and Katy Perry performed, an art party in a warehouse on the newly gentrified H Street NE, and, of course, countless of the more typical Washington affairs.

And now, back to bed. 

It’s December, Which Means It’s Time For End-Of-The-Year Mixtapes

End of the year listicles are a weird double-edged sword—yeah, they can be seen as agenda-setting and the discourse around them mind-numbing (“Where is [Album I Liked]?” “Why is [Album I Hated] on this list?”), but they’re also a great way to catch up on the good stuff you might have missed over the past year. For those who can’t stand all that clicking and reading, end-of-the-year mixtapes are a tolerable and dance party-ready substitute.

Hype Machine, instead of doing the whole end-of-the-year listicle thing, enlisted a pair of popular dance party curators to do their 2012 mixes, Major Lazer and the Hood Internet. The former, in addition to the international jamz with which Major Lazer are associated, features hits from Kendrick Lamar, Usher, TNGHT, and Hot Chip, as well as some of their own tracks from this year, including a sped-up “Original Don” and the wub-happy collaboration with Flux Pavilion, “Jah No Partial.” Chicago duo The Hood Internet feature Kanye West, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Future, and Chief Keef, among others, and both mixes feature iterations of M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls.”

DJ Daniel Kim takes a more pure pop approach to his end-of-the-year mix, which features some of the biggest singles of the year, with videos to match. More than 50 tracks from the forgettable (“Payphone,” that Flo Rida whistle song) to some particularly choice jams—you may have forgotten “Call Me Maybe,” Grammys, but the Danthology certainly did not. Fun.’s “We Are Young” gets mixed with tracks from Katy Perry and Nelly Furtado, and what’s amazing is how immensely improved all three become.

The only end-of-the-year mix that seems conspicuously missing is DJ Earworm, who has been delivering a mega-mashup pop music State of the Union of sorts for years along the lines of Danthology. But we’re sure he’ll have something along soon. In the meantime, put these on your New Year’s Eve playlist.

A Soundtrack For Watching Curiosity’s Mars Landing Footage

As David Attenborough, Björk, and @bill_nye_tho could most certainly tell you, science is mind-blowing. Today, while you were still complaining about NBC ruining the Olympics, the NASA rover Curiosity landed on Mars and began feeding wide-eyed space junkies everywhere images from the Red Planet in a matter of minutes.

In honor of this exciting development, here’s a rather literal soundtrack for checking out some images from space. Keep watching the skies, y’all.

Afrika Bambaataa – “Planet Rock”
When hip-hop met an interpolation of Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express,” it sounded like the future. Fitting for exploring the cosmos, and even more so for a good old-school dance party.

Parliament – “Mothership Connection (Star Child)”
Any space-themed playlist just wouldn’t feel complete without some kind of interstellar jam from George Clinton and his denizens of the final funky frontier. Plus, once you start thinking about Clinton’s amazing Technicolor hair, the one NASA controller’s Mohawk doesn’t seem so strange, and all the emphasis on it when there’s all this other cool stuff going on will have seemed so trivial. Anyway, bring on the funk.

Iggy Pop – “Curiosity”
“Curiosity killed the cat / but satisfaction brought it back.” A fuzzy, piano-tinged celebratory garage-rocker for all the NASA crewmembers who worked so hard to make this a reality.

Sun Kil Moon – “Space Travel Is Boring”
Mark Kozelek and Co.’s lovely, spare Modest Mouse cover is great for that solitary, 2am sort of planet-gazing.

Usher – “Mars vs. Venus”
If there are other beings on Mars, here’s hoping they like Usher.

Cut Copy – “Strange Nostalgia For The Future”
This blippy cut from Aussie electro dance party facilitators comes from their third album, Zonoscope, whose album art sort of looks like a rocket blasting off into space.

Yellow Ostrich – “In The Past I Was An Astronaut”
The double-tracked vocals come in deliberately and ethereally, almost with the rhythm of a planetary explorer taking some very small steps and giant leaps on the surface of the Moon. For such simple instrumentation, the song inhabits a whole lot of space. How apt.

David Bowie – “Life On Mars?”
Yeah, yeah. It’s the most obvious choice, especially given that now scientists predict we will be able to determine whether or not there is life on Mars within the next decade. But from the first gentle piano strains to the cosmic wash of the chorus, all wrapped in a yearning for an escape, there really isn’t a better soundtrack for a journey to another planet.

Usher’s Stepson Dies After Jetski Accident

Usher’s 11-year-old stepson Kile Glover was allegedly removed from life support and died this morning from injuries sustained after a jetski accident on July 8. The young body had been riding in an inner tube in Lake Lanier, Georgia, when he was struck by a family friend in a jetski.  

The family has not released an official statement, but family friends DJ Greg Street and Frank Ski tweeted messages seemingly confirming the young boy’s death. 

Kile, who was the son of Usher’s estranged wife Tameka Foster Raymond, had been braindead for several weeks. After determining that his condition would not improve, doctors in Atlanta apparently removed Kile from life support. 

Our thoughts go out to Usher, Tameka, and their family.

‘SNL’ Celebrates 100th Digital Short with Some Star-Studded Autofellatio

What do you get when you combine Andy Samberg, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Michael Bolton, Jon Hamm, Usher and more into one three-minute music video about autofellatio? You get the hilarious Digital Short from last night’s SNL, which just so happened to be the 100th of its kind. Check it out after the jump!

Usher is a Man Scorned in ‘Climax’ Video

"Climax" is one of Usher’s finest songs in years, a Diplo-produced burner that has the R&B singer singing the hell out of his take on a relationship gone wrong. He’s released an according video today, one that finds him coming home to find his woman bumping uglies with another man and then doing something mysteriously violent to get his revenge. It may seem a little dramatic, but don’t ever doubt his passion.

If you cheat on Usher, he will dance vigorously in front of a camera. He will make hand motions, too. Is this a scorn you can risk provoking? No word on if/when his next album is coming out, but let’s hope all of the songs sound this good. I’m on my 98th play this week, how about you?

Afternoon Links: Beyoncé Is Prepping Two New Albums, Usher Returns For Valentine’s Day

● Beyoncé is already prepping her next two albums, according to Grammy nominated producer and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder. "The conversations about her next album literally just started and there [are] two projects happening,"  he told TheBoomBox, adding that "steers the ship." [RapFix]

● Kristen Cavallari is so pregnant she can’t button her favorite jeans anymore. "It’s all for a good reason. It’s all right," she figures. "I’m pregnant." [Us]

● This "promising young" Diplo collaborator, Usher, sounds pretty good, don’t you think? [Diplo/Twitter]

● Billy Bob Thorton’s next film and the first he’s directed in ten years, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, is said to be inspired by his relationship with Angelina Jolie. [Vulture]

● Contrary to earlier reports of a public memorial, Whitney Houston will be laid to rest during an invitation only service at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday morning. [NYDN]

● Jenifer Anniston succesfully achieved the lowest-common denominator of "sexy" with this black bra and denim mini-skirt GQ spread. [PageSix]

XXL Magazine and Too $hort are sorry about that video they posted of the rapper giving advice to boys on how to “turn girls out.” Happy Valentine’s Day? [Romenesko]