Word that Bruno Mars was opening the BET Awards show Sunday night kicked up a dust storm on social media when one Twitter user voiced her opposition to his presence on the show as a form of cultural appropriation.
“Bruno Mars does not identify as Black,” Jenn M. Jackson wrote. “He is a non-Black person of color (POC) who has recently decided that singing Funk music is economically productive.”
Jackson went on to write, “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 … Taking our s–t and repackaging it for white people is not innovation. Even if these non-Black ppl sing well, it’s appropriation. Period.”
That was, apparently, a metaphorical “period” because she continued at length, which you can read in full here.
That’s all Mars fans had to hear. The flood gates opened and out poured his defenders, including @hypebruno, who jumped in with a litany of why JennMJack was dead wrong about her claims against Mars.
“Jenn M. Jackson this whole thread is false. let me tell you why,” @hypebruno began. “are we really going to blame Bruno because his audience demographic? he just wants to make music. my god … he didnt repackage anything. hes stated that hed be nothing without black artists hes appreciating not appropriating … Bruno Mars is a woke legend that understands that American music is black. find another artists to fit your agenda.”
And @hypebruno also persisted. See for yourself here.
“When you say ‘black music,’ understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown,” Bruno — who is of Ukrainian, Filipino, Hispanic, Jewish, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, Hungarian, Asian and Spanish heritage — said in an interview with Latina.com.
“Black people created it all. Being Puerto Rican, even salsa music stems back to the Motherland [Africa]. So, in my world, black music means everything. It’s what gives America its swag.”
But the “That’s What I Like” singer had more than just @hypebruno behind him. Here is a tiny cross section of his social media supporters.