Critics are accusing Bruno Mars of appropriating Black culture into his music, thrusting the singer into controversy after winning three Grammy Awards back in January.
The discussion comes to light in a recent episode of The Grapevine, “a fresh and innovative take on the panel-style discussion” on YouTube.
In the video posted on March 8, a female speaker argues that Mars — who won the best album, record and song of the year at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards — is “100 percent a cultural appropriator” who “plays up his racial ambiguity to…cross genres.”
Mars, who was born in Honolulu, is reportedly of Puerto Rican, Jewish, Filipino and Spanish descent.
The speaker goes on to call him a “karaoke singer” who merely recreates “pre-existing work.”
“We want our Black culture from non-Black bodies. And Bruno Mars is like, ‘I’ll give it to you,’” she added.
The speaker is not alone in her views. Just two days earlier, Billboard published an interview with singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, who claimed that what Mars is doing “is karaoke, basically.”
Ndegeocello told the outlet:
“What he’s doing is karaoke, basically. With ‘Finesse,’ in particular, I think he was simply copying Bell Biv DeVoe. I think he was copying Babyface. And definitely there were some elements of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis back when they worked with Human League. I feel like there’s just all these threads running through there but not in a genuine way.”
The internet has since been divided over the matter. Some commenters wrote on The Grapevine’s video:
Mars had also been trending on Twitter, with supporters praising his talents and defending him against accusations:
Is Mars a “cultural appropriator”? Watch The Grapevine’s video below:
Featured Images via Instagram / @brunomars