In March of 2018, Bruno Mars went viral after being accused of cultural appropriation. He is now addressing the reports that he is a culture vulture.
In case you forgot, YouTube’s The Grapevine launched a hotly controversial 25-minute discussion. Sensei Aishitemasu took the floor to call out Mr. 24K Magic with a laundry list of points that pinned the culture vulture badge to his career and Grammys recognition.
“Yes, Bruno Mars is 100 percent a cultural appropriator,” she began. “He is racially ambiguous. He is not Black at all, and he plays up his racial ambiguity to be able to do what Jamir says: cross genres and go into different places.”
In an interview with The Breakfast Club, the 35-year-old, born Peter Gene Hernandez, said, "I would say: You can’t look at an interview, you can’t find an interview where I’m not talking about the entertainers that’ve come before me.”
He acknowledges that his music and dance routines are derived from James Brown, Prince, and Michael Jackson.
“[T]hat’s the only reason why I’m here,” he said of the iconic Black artists. “I'm growing up as a kid, watching Bobby Brown, saying, ‘OK, if that’s what it takes to make it, then I’ve got to learn how to do the running man, I’ve got to learn how to do the moonwalk.’ That’s it. And this music comes from love, and if you can’t hear that, then I don’t know what to tell you.”
Mars also added, "It's not a secret. We wear the inspiration on our sleeve. What is the point if us, as musicians, can’t learn from the guys that’ve come before us? Why did they do it?”
When asked if being accused of being a culture vulture bothered him. Bruno replied, "No, it comes with the gig. There's real merit to what people are saying about Black entertainers not getting their flowers. I'm championing that, I'm with that."
See The Breakfast Club interview below.
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)