There isn’t any doubt about it: Usher is a showman via and thru.
Not solely was the pop star’s halftime present an opportunity for the famous person to showcase his largest hits for a worldwide viewers, nevertheless it additionally offered the chance for him to have a good time a private favourite pastime: rollerskating. Throughout the peak of the halftime set, Usher and his crew of dancers strapped on their (customized) skates through the singer’s hits “Unhealthy Lady” and “OMG” and enamored the viewers and viewers at house with jaw-dropping choreography and slick costumes to match. Whereas Usher wore customized Off-White throughout that particular quantity, his dancers’ costumes had been conceptualized by the singer himself with the steerage of his pal, mannequin, enterprise associate, and co-founder of Flippers Curler Boogie Palace, Liberty Ross.
“Clearly, there’s by no means been a efficiency on wheels earlier than on the halftime present and I am actually, actually excited to see that,” Ross informed Harper’s BAZAAR within the days main as much as Tremendous Bowl LVIII. “Usher has been a skater his entire life so this second feels actually pure and natural. It is a large second for our neighborhood and skate tradition as a complete.”
Ross after all, was born into her personal rollerskating legacy of kinds. Her father, Ian “Flipper” Ross, based and operated Flippers Curler Boogie Palace from 1979-1981, a free spirited curler rink-meets-music venue-meets nightclub (beforehand described as “Studio 54 on wheels”) that noticed the likes of Cher, Elton John, and Prince stroll via its doorways throughout it is years of operation. “Actually, this weekend my neighbor came to visit with Lenny Kravitz, who I would by no means met earlier than and he was like, ‘What? Your dad is Flip?” she says. “He went to Beverly Hills Excessive and all the children would go there and that is the way it turned the place to be.” Whereas Ross was solely 4 years outdated when Flippers closed for enterprise, rollerskating remained part of her world.
At first of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ross determined to construct an indoor rink at her Beverly Hills house she shares together with her husband Jimmy Iovine, which ultimately sparked the thought to provide modern-day rinks worldwide. A go to from Usher at her house someday marked the beginning of what would turn out to be a significant partnership centered across the preservation of rollerskating, a tradition that Ross describes as an “ignored” international neighborhood.
“He truly came to visit to my home as a result of my storage is Flippers in LA and he had heard about it and wished to return and test it out. That is when he stated to me how a lot he at all times wished to attempt to hold skate tradition alive,” Ross says of her friendship with the R&B king. “After I informed him that I used to be raised in a curler rink and that my mother and father had this type of legendary rink right here in Hollywood within the late seventies, he was simply so enthralled and we simply began to turn out to be actually good mates who realized that we have now the identical dream for our neighborhood meaning a lot to each of us.”
Since then, Flippers Curler Boogie Palace now has a everlasting house in White Metropolis, London and in addition turned the primary seasonal curler rink at Rockefeller Heart in New York Metropolis, however the dream did not cease there for Ross. Tremendous Bowl LVIII ended up offering the proper launchpad for the following iteration of Flippers: attire designed and constructed with the curler rink lover in thoughts. Usher’s dancers—in all of their athletic glory—wore items showcasing what’s to return from an official capsule assortment between Usher and Flippers arriving later this 12 months. Vegas partygoers on the town for the weekend would additionally see unique designs courtesy of Usher’s dancers on the star’s official afterparty (thrown alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg) following the large efficiency.
“Skaters are athletes with a lot of them doing all types of spins and splits and methods and headstands, and we actually wished to create a line of clothes that has all of that in thoughts,” explains Ross. “There are jackets as an example which have inbuilt skate straps that you would be able to unzip after which cling your skates round your shoulders. We have now superb shrugs with inbuilt padding on the arms and knee pads — like every sport, skaters fall and must get again up. There’s an actual open lane out there with this actual want for attire for our neighborhood.”
Fashioning practical attire nonetheless doesn’t suggest the costumes viewers noticed onstage sacrificed any type of intercourse enchantment. For Ross and for Usher, a component of sensuality being integrated into the appears was basically a requirement.
“Usher wished everybody to look as horny as attainable. He wished to do this type of moderately than Motocross, we’re calling it Curler Cross. It’s extremely colourful and really vivid for the stage and we wished the skaters to essentially pop,” Ross explains. “I feel that skaters are the sexiest folks I’ve ever met and truthfully I really like the way in which they costume. It’s extremely a lot about exaggerating the our bodies in essentially the most lovely methods — with the women you may see a whole lot of added padding for help they usually’ve acquired lovely hips and little waists with beautiful arm definition. All the pieces was made for them to look actually highly effective and robust and delightful and proud—which is precisely how they need to really feel.”
For Ross, Sunday evening in the end served as as catalyst for what’s to return for Flippers and for the rink tradition universe at massive.
“This has been an incredible alternative to show the world to those extremely gifted athletes, dancers, and this lovely neighborhood that every one have essentially the most compelling tales and are available from all completely different backgrounds,” she says. “Usher and I are very passionate to maintain constructing rinks, whether or not or not it’s pop ups or events and bringing it into as many central areas as a lot as attainable so that they’re accessible to as many individuals as attainable. We’re simply on a mission to unfold the gospel.”
Bianca Betancourt is the tradition editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, the place she covers all issues movie, TV, music, and extra. When she’s not writing, she loves impulsively baking a batch of cookies, re-listening to the identical early-2000s pop playlist, and stalking Mariah Carey’s Twitter feed.