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.”
He is a non-Black person of color (POC) who has recently decided that singing Funk music is economically productive.
— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) June 25, 2017
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.
Random chick: "black twitter, let's be mad at Bruno mars!"
Black twitter: pic.twitter.com/NXn1nxz2mK
— mark. (@Mark_Jayy) June 25, 2017
Y'all out here slandering Bruno Mars when that man minds his business and make bomb music. pic.twitter.com/NJ5ik0o4su
— ???? (@bouttheboy) June 25, 2017
Bruno Mars gave respect to Black Culture for influencing his music, unlike some other non-black, mainstream artists. pic.twitter.com/fB2wjVnOtQ
— July 1st. ???? (@_KaylaBayla) June 25, 2017
Y'all better stop with trying to cancel Bruno Mars. It's just not gonna happen ???????? worry about other people who are WAY more problematic pic.twitter.com/49PXuEBae4
— ♡ (@DaydreamSlays) June 25, 2017
Bruno Mars isn't appropriating a damn thing. He's showing appreciation. Big difference. What y'all AREN'T gonna do is try to attack my mans. pic.twitter.com/tOGQhDL9i9
— dya ✨ (@cametogiveIove) June 25, 2017
I will NOT tolerate Bruno Mars slander on my timeline.
— ???? (@whyyousoloudfor) June 25, 2017
Bruno Mars credits Black artist for influencing his music. I promise, you won't die if for 1 day you stop seeking issue where there isnt any
— René (@NamasteGutenTag) June 25, 2017