While some believe that Bruno is culturally appropriating black music, some others argue that he is not an appropriator.
During the show, commentators joined in for a discussion whether Bruno, who was born to Filipino mother and Puerto Rican father, was appropriating black culture for profit. "Bruno Mars 100 percent is a cultural appropriator," Seren Sensei said of the Grammy-winning musician. "He is not black at all, and he plays up his racial ambiguity cross genres."
"What Bruno Mars does, is he takes pre-existing work and he just completely, word-for-word recreates it, extrapolates it," she argued, referencing to the fact that Bruno makes music that would fit into traditional black genres like R&B, funk, soul and hip-hop. "Bruno Mars has an Album of the Year Grammy and Prince never won an Album of the Year Grammy. The issue is we want our black culture from non-black bodies."
Seren's comments have sparked a huge debate among those who support the singer and others who believe that he is culturally appropriating black music. One user writes, "this is why I hate bruno mars @seren_sensei says it all." Another agrees, "…oh wow she's right. I still like Bruno Mars tho."
...oh wow she’s right. I still like Bruno Mars tho— Deshawn idk. (@Iamdeshawnn) 9 Maret 2018
One other, meanwhile, argued that the singer "is not an appropriator in my opinion." The user said, "he hasn't 'stolen' or erased or claimed ownership or discovery. Is he benefiting from white privilege? Yes, but that doesn't make him a horrible person because I believe he recognizes that and still gives true credit."
Bruno Mars is not an appropriator in my opinion, he hasn’t “stolen” or erased or claimed ownership or discovery. Is he benefiting from white privilege? Yes, but that doesn’t make him a horrible person because I believe he recognizes that and still gives true credit— M’baku (@loudandvocal) 9 Maret 2018
Amid the debate, a source close to Bruno reveals to HollywoodLife.com that the singer "is shocked when he heard he was being attacked for appropriating black culture." The source notes, "He has a lot of respect of black music and listened to everything from R&B, to hip-hop, rap and more growing up, he loves it all. He credits black people with creating rock, hip-hop, funk and everything else great in America and he is proud to be a part of the American music landscape."