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El Paisano

Is Bruno Mars a Culture Vulture?

Photo courtesy of brunomars.com

Photo courtesy of brunomars.com

Autumn Lewis, Reporter

So what exactly is culture appropriation?

It’s not a phrase that in the Webster dictionary, but its definition is known too well.

Culture appropriation is “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture.”

And you can only culturally appropriate if you are not apart of the culture that you are “appropriating” from, ethnicity wise.

Recently, a video surfaced of Black writer and activist Seren Sensei accusing singer Bruno Mars of being a culture appropriator, also called a “culture vulture.”

“Bruno Mars 100% is a culture appropriator,”she confidently stated in the video displayed above.

Sensei goes on to say that although Bruno Mars is not Black AT ALL, he plays up his racial ambiguity (His mother is Filipina and his father is Puerto Rican) to be able to cross musical genres such as Pop, Hip-Hop, and R&B.

She makes a point to say that people have realized that they prefer their Black music and Black culture from a NON-Black medium.

Sensei believes this may be why he is so popular, besides being so “talented.”

Bruno Mars has had a successful last couple years with his 2016 album 24K Magic.

This success followed a brief and abrupt hiatus after releasing his album, Unorthodox Jukebox, in 2012.

His 24K Magic Album won him a Grammy for Album of the Year.

He won Grammys for Song of the Year with “That’s What I Like” and Record of the Year with songs “Uptown Funk” and “24K Magic.”

But as said in an article by CNN Writer Deena Zaru: “The Grammy-winning star is known for blending elements of funk, soul, R&B, reggae and hip-hop in his music — genres that are historically and traditionally African-American.”

Sensei also goes on to say that nowadays musicians such as Bruno Mars and others are more inclined to go into genres identified as Black music like hip-hop and R&B mainly because they’re more popular. They did not do this back in the days of Michael Jackson and Prince.

Let’s remember, it has been proven that Hip Hop is the most popular and highest grossing genre of music in THE WORLD.

It’s a money move to culture approriate.

It gives real meaning and substantiation to the statement “People wanna be Black but don’t wanna be Black.”

The reason why he may have gotten so far without people discussing it may be because he gets a “Black card” or a pass from many of his Black counterparts in music like singer Charlie Wilson and rapper Rapsody.

Bruno Mars, like numerous other artists in today’s music, may be in fact a culture vulture.

But Bruno Mars is also known to pay homage to and not to discredit those that invented and carried on the legacy of Black music genres.


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Is Bruno Mars a Culture Vulture?