The music industry is indeed very competitive nowadays, but there is one particular artist that seems to be the center of attention since the year began. And that is none other than multi-Grammy singer, Bruno Mars. He became famous for his songs such as “Just The Way You Are”, “The Lazy Song”, “When I Was Your Man”, “Uptown Funk”, “Versace on the Floor”, “24K Magic” and more.
These are just some of the songs that came from albums that made him a multi-awarded superstar. So far, he has 11 Grammy awards along with all the other awards he’s got throughout his career. Mars also holds three Guinness World Records and has been a part of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011.
He is known for having a wide range of musical styles and retro-kind of showmanship. Unfortunately, despite all of these great achievements, he is currently facing a backlash by being accused of “cultural appropriation.”
Bruno Mars giving a speech after winning -Album of the Year at the 2018 Grammys
Bruno Mars Accusation on Top Trends
It definitely broke the internet last weekend when singer Bruno Mars has been accused of cultural appropriation by writer and activist Seren Sensei. She mentioned in her Grapevine video how the Grammy award-winning singer is actually a “100% cultural appropriator”. She bravely accused him of using the black culture for his own good and actually just completes some pre-existing work by recreating it. Sensei even described him as a singer who does covers for stars like Michael Jackson and Prince.
The people on social media definitely have their own opinions. Some agreed with her but a lot of people, even black artists in the industry, completely disagreed with the accusation.
Bruno Mars is actually born of mixed race with a Filipino mother and Puerto Rican mix father. Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am, who is a black singer himself, does not believe that Mars is using the black culture to gain popularity and earn more money by basing his music off of it.
He mentioned how they should be proud that other cultures are doing and respecting their cultures as long as they know where it came from. People actually took Sensei’s accusations literally by giving an example that, if a black singer sings songs and releases albums that originated from the white culture just like country style music, they would be considered as cultural appropriation? Same goes for Asians who are trying to get into Latin-inspired music such as salsa.
The 11-time Grammy winner has actually addressed this issue even before the accusations took place. In a magazine cover story for Latina, Mars even described black music as something that involves rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, and hip-hop. He said it himself how the black people created all of those kinds of music, he even said that this type of music from the back culture is the reason why America got some swag. Which is why a lot of people find it unfair for Mars to be accused of something like this just because he has a mixed race and is really successful.
What Is Cultural Appropriation?
This is actually defined as a form of an act wherein a person uses or takes things from another culture that he or she does not belong to, and uses it as their own without actually giving credit and showing respect to it and where it actually originated. According to a law professor, Susan Scafidi, from Fordham University, cultural appropriation is actually considered as taking some intellectual property since the traditional knowledge and cultural expressions such as music, language, cuisine, cannot be used without authorization.
Bruno Mars has now a total of 11 Grammy Awards
This has been a problem for decades now. Bruno Mars is not the very first artist who was accused of cultural appropriation. In fact, just recently, another singer, Pharrell Williams was accused of cultural appropriation for thethe Holi festival collection in collaboration with Adidas. The Holi Festival is known as the festival of color, which originated in India, and Williams is black and does not have any Indian heritage. Some other celebrities who has been accused of cultural appropriation are Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea, Lady Gaga, and actor Johnny Depp.