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Celebs defend Bruno Mars 'cultural appropriation' claims

CRITICISED: Bruno Mars (Photo credit: PA)

BLACK MUSICIANS have jumped to the defence of Bruno Mars, after the star was accused of cultural appropriation.

The claims, made last week in an online video, started a huge debate over what Mars could have appropriated, or “taken” from different cultures.

In the two-minute clip posted on The Grapevine, Seren Sensei said: “Bruno Mars 100% is a cultural appropriator. He is not black, at all, and he plays up his racial ambiguity to cross genres.

“What Bruno Mars does, is he takes pre-existing work and he just completely, word-for-word recreates it, extrapolates it. He does not create it, he does not improve upon it, he does not make it better."

She added: “He's a karaoke singer, he's a wedding singer, he's the person you hire to do Michael Jackson and Prince covers. Yet Bruno Mars has an Album of the Year Grammy and Prince never won an Album of the Year Grammy.”

Many agreed with Sensei's points, with one Twitter user declaring it “the perfect assessment of the current state of the music industry.”

The 24k Magic singer's mother is Filipina while his father is from Puerto Rico. However, Mars’ music often samples elements from black music including funk, reggae, R&B and hip-hop - something which he has previously spoke about, and given full credit to the traditions and history of the different music genres.

In a 2017 interview with Latina Magazine, Mars discussed why American music is black music. He said: "When you say ‘black music, understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown. 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."

"I’m a child raised in the ‘90s. Pop music was heavily rooted in R&B from Whitney, Diddy, Dr. Dre, Boyz II Men, Aaliyah, TLC, Babyface, New Edition, Michael, and so much more," he added.

"As kids this is what was playing on MTV and the radio. This is what we were dancing to at school functions and BBQs. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for these artists who inspired me. They have brought me so much joy and created the soundtrack to my life filled with memories that I’ll never forget."

Soul singer Charlie Wilson - an artist who Mars has been accused of copying - came to his defence and credited the Grammy award-winning star with “bringing back” the sound.

In a message on Twitter, Wilson said: "Just want to join in the convo and stand up for my friend @BrunoMars!"

Grammy-nominated rap artist Rapsody also praised Mars, posting: “Keep making that funky ish, @BrunoMars!!!! Do you always.”

"Black Lives Matter" activist and writer Shaun King tweeted: "I just want to be practical here. Are people saying that Bruno Mars shouldn't sing? Or that when he sings he needs to somehow whiten that s--- up and sound more like Rod Stewart. "I'm dead serious. What type of music is this man "allowed" to do?"

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