Bruno Mars put on quite a show at the BET Awards on Sunday. While he gets tons of praise as an entertainer, some folks can’t help but wonder if it was appropriate for a non-Black person of color to open the awards show. One writer insisted that Bruno is “stealing” from Black culture.
Writer Jenn M. Jackson wrote on Twitter, “I really need y’all to stop with this Bruno Mars praise and be more critical about the ways we understand appropriation.” Jackson critiqued Bruno (his mother is Filipino and his father is Puerto Rican and Jewish) for profiting from Black art forms. See below:
Despite Jackson’s criticism, many people came to Bruno’s defense.
In response to all of the resistance, Jackson clarified that you can be a fan and still be critical.
In a January interview with Latina, Mars, who identifies as Puerto Rican and Filipino, stated:
“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.”