Bruno Mars defends himself against cultural appropriation claims

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read

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Bruno Mars has spoken out against repeated claims of cultural appropriation against him, saying his "music comes from love" and that he always acknowledges his influences.

The 35-year-old singer-songwriter has been accused of appropriating Black music while not being a Black person.

Mars was born to a Filipina mother and a father whose heritage is half Puerto Rican and half Ashkenazi Jewish from Eastern Europe.

Read more: Mars accused of stealing part of Uptown Funk

Appearing on US radio show The Breakfast Club, he said he constantly cites those whose music formed his style and persona.

"I would say you can't look at an interview, you can't find an interview where I am not talking about the entertainers that have come before me," Mars added.

Bruno Mars at the Billboard Music Awards in 2018. (Photo by: Brian Friedman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Bruno Mars at the Billboard Music Awards in 2018. (Photo by: Brian Friedman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Mars pointed out that he would never have entered music were it not for the influence of performers like James Brown and Michael Jackson.

"This music comes from love. If you can't hear that, then I don't know what to tell you," said Mars.

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He added: "We're wearing the inspiration on our sleeve. What is the point if we, if us as musicians can't learn from the guys that came before us? Why did they do it?

"I hope that later on down the road, there's gonna be a band that's taking what we did and flipping that and freaking that and putting their own spin on it, because if they don't then what was the point of us doing this?"

Mars said a certain amount of criticism "comes with the gig", but said there is "real merit to what people are saying about Black entertainers not getting their flowers".

Producer Philip Lawrence and Bruno Mars accept the award for Album of the Year during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on January 28, 2018  (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Producer Philip Lawrence and Bruno Mars accept the award for Album of the Year during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on January 28, 2018 (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Since criticism of Mars for alleged appropriation first came about in 2018, numerous Black entertainers have defended him against any suggestion he is profiting from culture that is not his own.

Most prominently, Stevie Wonder jumped to the star's defence, saying that "God created music for all of us to enjoy".

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Wonder added: "We cannot limit ourselves by people’s fears and insecurities. He’s a great talent, so all the other stuff is just bulls***. 

"He was inspired by great musicians and great artists and songwriters. So it’s cool."

Since releasing his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans in 2010, Mars has sold more than 130 million records and won countless awards, including 11 Grammys. 

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