Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

Bruno Mars Addressed Claims That He's Appropriating Black Culture

"This music comes from love."

Bruno Mars has responded to claims that he's appropriating Black culture.

Bruno rocking a fedora, bandana, a blazer, and chains
Kevin Mazur / WireImage / Getty Images

If you need a refresher, the debate around Bruno hit its peak in 2018 — after a video of activist and writer Seren Sensei went viral. In it she said, "Bruno Mars 100% is a cultural appropriator. He is not Black, at all, and he plays up his racial ambiguity to cross genres."

Bruno accepting an award on stage
Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Bruno's mom is Filipino, and his dad is Puerto Rican and Jewish.

These comments came during Bruno's 24K Magic era — an LP that picked up Best R&B Album and Record of the Year at the 2017 Grammys.

Slaven Vlasic / FilmMagic / Getty Images

During this time, Bruno listed his influences as the music of the '90s, notably “Whitney, Diddy, Dr. Dre, Boyz II Men, Aaliyah, TLC, Babyface, New Edition, Michael, and so much more ... I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for these artists who inspired me.”

The comments started a huge debate, with many coming to Bruno's defense — including Steve Wonder, who called it "bullshit."

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

Twitter: @JaiTheLioness

Now, on the heels of his new project with Anderson .Paak — supergroup Silk Sonic — Bruno was asked on The Breakfast Club how he'd respond to people who have called him a "culture thief."

View this video on YouTube

Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM

"I would say, you can’t look at an interview, you can’t find an interview where I’m not talking about the entertainers that’ve come before me," Bruno began.

"The only reason why I’m here is because of James Brown, is because of Prince, Michael [Jackson] — that’s the only reason why I’m here. I'm growing up as a kid, watching Bobby Brown, saying, ‘OK, if that’s what it takes to make it, then I’ve got to learn how to do the running man, I’ve got to learn how to do the moonwalk.’ That’s it. And this music comes from love, and if you can’t hear that, then I don’t know what to tell you.”

Anderson and Bruno sitting next to each other during an interview
Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM / Via youtube.com

"It's not a secret. We wear the inspiration on our sleeve," he continued. "What is the point if us, as musicians, can’t learn from the guys that’ve come before us? Why did they do it?"

Then, when he was asked if all this ever annoys him, Bruno replied, "No, it comes with the gig. There's real merit to what people are saying about Black entertainers not getting their flowers. I'm championing that, I'm with that."

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"At the time, when it kind of popped off on the internet, I was looking in the mirror like, what am I not seeing? Do I have this pass that I don't know about? Where can I get this pass? Because I could use some for me and my friends."

He added, "I understand, it's...it's Twitter, man."

You can listen to the new Silk Sonic song here.