Bruno Mars Cultural Appropriation Allegations

Bruno Mars Cultural Appropriation Allegations

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Updated Feb 10, 2019 at 05:42PM EST by Brad.

Added Mar 09, 2018 at 12:36PM EST by Matt.

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Overview

Bruno Mars Cultural Appropriation Allegations refers to the ongoing debate as to whether recording artist and performer Bruno Mars, who is of Puerto Rican, Filipino and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, is adopting and profiting off the work of African American artists.

Background

Bruno Mars is a recording artist who has frequently be heralded as a champion of funk and even been held responsible for "bringing funk back." In each of his three full length albums, Mars has showcased a variety of genres, such as doo wop, rap and funk, which have been historically and predominantly performed by African American artists, including Prince and Michael Jackson, who Mars is frequently compared to.



Developments

On June 26th, 2017, ahead of Bruno Mars opening performance at the BET awards, writer Jenn M. Jackson posted a Twitter [1] accusing stating that Mars was appropriation black culture. She writes:

"I really need y'all to stop with this Bruno Mars praise and be more critical about the ways we understand appropriation. Bruno Mars does not identify as Black. Let's get that clear at the outset. He is a non-Black person of color (POC) who has recently decided that singing Funk music is economically productive. These claims that Bruno Mars is "bringing Funk back" are erasive to Black Funk artists who pioneered the tradition. FUNK. NEVER. LEFT. Yes, he gives "credit" to Funk artists on occasion. He also has a primarily white audience which has no memory or care for Black artists. In Bruno's case, 'bringing Funk back' essentially means, "Funk was a Black thing and now I gave it to white people." That's appropriation. I need us to stop relaxing our critical lens to anti-Blackness and appropriation when it is a non-Black POC harming us. The Bruno Mars praise is also patriarchal cause some of y'all were giving Eminem, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke passes too. Stop it. Taking our shit and repackaging it for white people is not innovation. Even if these non-Black ppl sing well, it's appropriation. Period.


Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 the ways we understand appropriation 0452 230 467 Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 Bruno Mars does not identify as Black. Let's get that clear at the outset. gI really need y'all to stop with this Bruno Mars praise and be more critical about Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 He is a non-Black person of color (POC) who has recently decided that singing Funk music is economically productive. g 53 102 262 Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 These claims that Bruno Mars is "bringing Funk back" are erasive to Black Funk artists who pioneered the tradition. FUNK. NEVER. LEFT Jenn M. Jackson @JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 audilence which has no memory or care for Black arists Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 In Bruno's case, 'bringing Funk back' essentially means, "Funk was a Black thing and now I gave it to white people." That's appropriation 69 100 283 Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 Ineed us to stop relaxing our critical lens to anti-Blackness and appropriation when it is a non-Black POC harming us. 14 88 226 Jenn M. Jackson@JennMJack 25 Jun 2017 The Bruno Mars praise is also patriarchal cause some of y'all were giving Eminem, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke passes too. Stop it. 919 t 87 214 Jenn M. Jackson JennMJack Follow Taking our s--- and repackaging it for white people is not innovation. Even if these non- Black ppl sing well, it's appropriation. Period. 9:33 AM-25 Jun 2017

The following week, on July 6th, the website High Snobiety[2] published an article entitled "Is Bruno Mars Guilty of Cultural Appropriation?" In the article, the writer lays out the case against Mars, discussing his racial identity, rumors that he intentionally kept his race ambiguous and how he has used the music of black artists. They write:

"Do his musical stylings and surrounding himself with black talent amount to Bruno utilizing black culture for a come-up, similar to an artist like Iggy Azalea? There’s two sides to the argument: on the one hand, as Bruno said, black people came up with practically every genre of music that is currently popular; from rock, hip-hop and rap to afrobeats and EDM (look up Chicago house music). So if non-black people of color and/or white people can’t partake in these genres, what can they create? Many feel that there’s nothing wrong with non-black artists participating in black culture as long as they respect and pay homage to it, making a distinction between artists like Mars that recognize the influence and the cultural ‘smudgers’ who outright steal from black artists and pass it off as their own work."

The Grapevine

On March 8th, 2018, the YouTube [3] channel The Grapevine published a video, roundtable debate about whether or not Mars is a cultural appropriator. The debate made arguments on both sides of the divide. Within 24 hours, the video has received more than 27,000 views.



Following the video's release, people on Twitter commented on the debate, making more points and jokes about the debate. Twitter[4] user @TaraAngel94 tweeted a gif of comedian Jessica Williams and the caption, "Bruno Mars is literally the LEAST problematic musician out here and y’all want to bash him for making Bops that everyone and their grandma can dance to? I mean all that energy can be used for calling out ACTUAL culture vultures but… 😒" The tweet (shown below, left) received more than 2,300 retweets and 5,300 likes in 24 hours.

Twitter[5] user @JaiTheLioness tweeted, "Y’all are just trying to find reasons to hate Bruno Mars.. if he’s not your cup of tea then he’s not your cup of tea but to say that he isn’t talented and appropriates black culture to validate your argument is wack.. just say you don’t like him and move on." The post (shown below, center) received more than 800 retweets and 1,800 likes in 24 hours.

Additionally, Twitter[6] user @yourRHOleModel tweeted, "All Bruno Mars wanna do is sniff is cocaine, curl his hair, and dance his ass off to old school love songs. Leave that little man alone and go to work." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 1,800 retweets and 4,400 likes in 24 hours.


Bruno Mars is literally the LEAST problematic musician out here and y'all want to bash him for making Bops that everyone and their grandma can dance to? I mean all that energy can be used for calling out ACTUAL culture vultures but GIF Y'all are just trying to find reasons to hate Bruno Mars.. if he's not your cup of tea then he's not your cup of tea but to say that he isn't talented and appropriates black culture to validate your argument is wack.. just say you don't like him and move on All Bruno Mars wanna do is sniff is cocaine, curl his hair, and dance his ass off to old school love songs. Leave that little man alone and go to work.

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