Celebrities Defend Bruno Mars Over 'Cultural Appropriation' Claims

Grammy Award-winning singer Bruno Mars found himself on the receiving end of some harsh criticism last week, being accused of cultural appropriation of African American culture.

However, multiple black celebrities in the music industry have since come forward in defense of the "Uptown Funk" singer.

'Bruno Mars is a genuine talent pure and simple,' R&B singer Charlie Wilson wrote on Twitter. "For the current haters I say this: Bruno with this album helped bring back that classic New Jack/R&B sound to the masses when it was left for dead years ago."

Wilson was referring to Mars' most recent album, 24K Magic, which won three Grammys at this year's Grammy Awards, sold two million units and had a No. 1 hit on the charts with "That's What I Like."

"So is it Bruno Mars fault that...he was influenced by BabyFace, Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis...around the same time from a hip-hop side I was influenced by DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and The Beatminerz?" producer 9th Wonder tweeted. "This is a Sociology study on influence and exposure....'

Grammy-nominated rapper Rapsody also showed support towards Mars, tweeting "Keep making that funky ish, @BrunoMars!!!" on her account.

The original accusation spawned during a round table discussion of the YouTube series The Grapevine, which explores and discusses African American issues. Seren Sensei Aishitemasu voiced her outrage towards Mars, bringing up the fact that Mars is not himself African American, but actually half Filipino, one quarter Puerto Rican and a quarter Jewish.

Bruno Mars 100 per cent is a cultural appropriator. He is not black at all, and he plays up his racial ambiguity to cross genres,' Aishitemasu said. '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.

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

Aishitemasu even went so far as to say the comparison between Mars and the biggest pop icon of the previous generation, Michael Jackson, is a "false equivalency."

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"I don't even think that Michael Jackson, now, in this day in age, would be able to get to the point that he got to previously," Aishitemasu explained. "And a huge part of that is because people have realized that they prefer their black music and their black culture from a non-black face."

Along with celebrities speaking up, waves of fans have come to Mars' defense on social media as well.