How Has Usher Influenced Pop Culture?

by Allison Horky
Usher has been an entertainer since 1994.

Usher has been an entertainer since 1994.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Usher is a multifaceted entertainer who had his start in the hip-hop music scene in 1994 with an album titled "Usher." He has produced 31 singles on seven albums. In addition to his music, he has been involved in film, television and stage performance. He is partial owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, owns a fragrance line called Usher VIP and owns the record label US Records.

Music

Usher's first popular album was titled "My Way" and released in 1997. This album saw three singles, taking the album to a peak position of No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Usher was nominated for three 2010 MTV Awards and one 2010 BET Award. His nominations for these categories indicate a recognition of his contributions to popular culture on the part of his peers.

Acting

Usher acted in many TV shows and movies, including "Moesha," "The Faculty" and "In the Mix." In "Moesha," Usher played her love interest during Season 3. "Moesha" was UPN's most popular show, framing current teen issues through the eyes of an upper-middle-class African-American teenager living in Los Angeles. Its six seasons and prominence of syndication after cancellation illustrate its influence on popular culture. Usher also debuted on Broadway, a key popular culture performance venue, in the show "Chicago." He played Billy Flynn in the musical -- a choice role for many performers due to its impact on Broadway.

Producer

Usher is the founder of US Records, a subsidiary of J Records, owned by Clive Davis. The record label's first production was the soundtrack to "In the Mix," which featured a rising Canadian R&B; singer-songwriter named Justin Bieber. He was later signed to the Raymond Braun Media Group and Island Records.

Philanthropy

In 1999, Usher founded an organization, New Look Foundation, to empower marginalized youth to become leaders in their communities. He is recognized by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Trumpet Foundation, Do Something, NAACP and as the 2010 Ford Freedom Award Scholar. This organization plays an integral role in popular culture. His examples of philanthropy model how successful entertainers maintain a level of responsibility to their communities.

Sports

Usher is also part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) leading teams. He is a part of a small group of entertainers to be partial owners of professional sports teams. Sports are a cornerstone of popular culture -- Usher is influencing one of the most talented teams in basketball by being a partial owner.

Photo Credits

  • Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images