Bruno Mars Is the Center of Twitter’s Latest Cultural Appropriation Debate

Is Bruno Mars a cultural appropriator or not?

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Is Bruno Mars a cultural appropriator or an appreciator of black music?

That's the debate posed by The Grapevine's video panel that's sparked a heated Twitter debate on Friday causing the pop star to become a trending topic.

Over the two-part discussion, which lasted over 50 minutes, the speakers broke down their sides of the argument. Some panelist argued that Mars countlessly honors the black artists who paved the way for him and often hires black dancers and musicians to back him up. But others have countered that the Hawaii-born artist copies black music and profits off of his racial ambiguity in a way that other black artists are not able to do.

"What Bruno Mars does, is he takes pre-existing work and he just completely, word-for-word recreates it, extrapolates it," said YouTuber Sensei Aishitemasu. "He does not create it, he does not improve upon it, he does not make it better. He’s a karaoke singer, he’s a wedding singer, he’s the person you hire to do Michael Jackson and Prince covers. Yet Bruno Mars has an Album of the Year Grammy and Prince never won an Album of the Year Grammy."

This is far from the first time that Mars was the target of cultural appropriation claims. But as many have pointed out, he always makes sure to name the artists who inspired him.

"When you say 'black music,' understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown," he said in a 2017 interview with Latina. "Black people created it all. Being Puerto Rican, even salsa music stems back to the Motherland. So, in my world, black music means everything."

But of course, the court of Twitter has to get their say. Check out some tweets below.

Wait. Where’s the lie though? We culturally prefer to ingest Black culture from non-Black people. I guess that’s irrelevant when the pop star is someone we like e.g. Bruno Mars. I like Bruno Mars—a lot—and this bigger point about systemic erasure still stands.

— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) March 9, 2018

bruno mars ain't even from mars, the planetary vulture

— Rembert Browne (@rembert) March 9, 2018

so i see today’s bruno mars/mimicry/appropriation conversation and i’ve got a free thinkpiece for someone who likes writing more than i do...

aside from skin color, the difference between what bruno does on 24k and donald glover on “awaken...” is?

— bomani (@bomani_jones) March 9, 2018

TBH that’s society’s issue, not Bruno Mars’ 🤷🏾‍♀️ I like his music... it reminds me of the old school music I grew up on. I for one will continue to support him along with every other artist who makes good quality music

— Ya ✊🏾❤️ (@ImperfctXennial) March 9, 2018

Oh so now yall want to slander Bruno Mars who makes amazing music and ALWAYS acknowledges influences in his music? Who constantly gives credit where credit is due? Who makes music that EVERYONE enjoys? Get out of here with that BS!!!

— Ashanti (@TeamAlgee4Ever) March 9, 2018

leave Bruno Mars alone!

— ʍɛֆֆʏ–ǟռȶɨƈ ʝɛա ɮօɨ✡️ (@holdenmikecox) March 9, 2018

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