Bruno Mars has responded to allegations that he appropriates black culture into his music career.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club on Friday, the Grammy-winning singer said, “You can’t get an interview where I haven’t talked about the artists who will come in front of me. The only reason I’m here is because of James Brown, Prince, Michael.”
“This music comes from love and if you can’t hear that, I don’t know what to tell you,” he added.
Mars – who was born to a Filipino mother and a half Puerto Rican, half Ashkenazi Jewish father – went on to explain that artists learn from artists who came before them and likened using those artists as an inspiration to athletes who use NBA legend Michael Jordan as the architect and of other sports athletes.
In the past, celebrities have expressed their support for Mars and his music, but these allegations of cultural distribution have been with Mars for years.
In 2018, writer and activist Seren Sensei said in a video clip that Mars “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,” Sensei said. “He does not create it, he does not improve upon it, he does not make it better.”
Interview host Charlamagne tha God pressed Mars on whether this criticism ever gets to him.
“It comes with the gig,” Mars said. “There’s real merit to what people are saying about Black entertainers not getting their flowers.”
Mars shared that he carries his heart in his sleeve and hopes that other artists will take inspiration from his work the way he was inspired by others.
“I hope that later on, down the road, there’s going to be a band that’s taking what we did and flipping that, and freaking that, and putting their own spin on it — because if they don’t, then what was the point of us doing this?”