Bruno Mars has become a source of debate after a question of cultural appropriation surfaced last week. Teddy Riley, the artist credited with creating the new jack swing genre, is the latest to voice his opinion on Mars.
Riley spoke with Essence Tuesday to share his thoughts on the artist who dedicated his 2018 Grammy win to him back in January. For Riley, he had nothing but love and respect for Mars' work, noting his success in a genre that Riley, Babyface, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis pushed forward works only to "put us even more in the game and help to sustain us."
9th Wonder also recently offered his support for Mars by saying he is a product of influence, "which has no racial barriers."
Riley says he is grateful for Mars giving back through his talents. "It's a known fact that God blesses us to bless others, and then sometimes, you get the blessing. But, I'm more of a giver, I like to give. So, him giving....sometimes we don't understand receiving a gift. But, the most incredible gift to be given, for me, is someone paying homage. So, I feel wonderful about it."
Mars was quoted last year saying, "When you say 'black music,' understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown. Black people created it all. Being Puerto Rican, even salsa music stems back to the Motherland [Africa]. So, in my world, black music means everything. It’s what gives America its swag."