Bruno Mars is one of the most influential musicians of our time, but he too has been inspired by past artists.
Many of whom are people of colour, which he himself has admitted.
However, last week, YouTuber Senei Aishitemasu began a conversation about Bruno and how he’s a cultural appropriator, in a video for The Grapevine.
She slammed Bruno for just “completely, word-for-word” recreating other works of music, rather than being original with his work. “White people love him because he’s NOT black, period,” she said. “The issue is: We want our black culture from non-black bodies. And Bruno Mars is like — bam, I’ll give it to you.”
Now, two black musicians have come to Bruno’s defence. R&B artist Charlie Wilson took to Twitter to claim Bruno as being a “genuine talent, pure and simple.”
He went on to explain how he is doing so much more than just trying to make money off black culture. “Bruno, with this album, helped bring back that classic New Jack /R&B sound to the masses when it was left for dead years ago and hard for artists to get that sound back on the mainstream radar,” he wrote. “Bruno’s songs on this album are original and no different than any other artist pulling inspiration from genres before him.”
Another artist, 9th Wonder, also stood up for Bruno.
“How do we expect our culture now to be accepted by mainstream (in which half of y’all don’t even recognize brilliance in artists UNTIL its slammed in your face by the masses, and NOT influence the masses?” he asked. “Is it Bruno Mar’s fault that he was influenced by BabyFace, Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis… around the same time, from a hip-hop side, I was influenced by DJ Premier, Pete Rock and The Beatminerz? This is a Sociology study on influence and exposure, not, ‘Oh, Bruno wanna just copy us.’”
Now, the creator of The Grapevine has come out and also defended Bruno, regardless of what Sensei said on her show.
She has revealed that she dose not “believe Bruno Mars is a cultural appropriator.”
“Sure, Bruno Mars was the catalyst of our conversation…However, so much nuance is left out of the conversation when you do not do the work of going to the source of the conversation and understanding the argument fully. We reduce critical conversations when we relegate people to the silos of haters and bitterness due to defensiveness.”