Back in 2018, Twitter ignited with accusations of cultural appropriation against Bruno Mars, who critics said was cashing in on music inspired by Black entertainers. At the time, Mars responded by saying all genres of music, from jazz to hip-hop, have roots in the Black community. “In my world, Black music means everything,” he said at the time. Now, Mars is once again addressing his cultural appropriation backlash, this time by explaining his inspirations.
Bruno Mars recently sat down for an interview with The Breakfast Club alongside Anderson .Paak in support of their recent Silk Sonic single “Leave The Door Open.” Charlamagne Tha God, the host of The Breakfast Club, asked Mars how he felt about being accused of “cultural theft.” Mars responded by saying he does draw inspiration from Black legends like Prince and James Brown:
“I’ll say, you can’t find an interview where I’m not talking about the entertainers who have come before me. The only reason why I’m here is because of James Brown, Prince, Michael [Jackson], that’s the only reason why I’m here. I’m growing up as a kid watching Bobbie Brown saying, ‘Okay, if that’s what it takes to make it, then I gotta learn how to do the running man, I gotta learn how to do the moonwalk.’ That’s it. This music comes from love. If you can’t hear that, then I don’t know what to tell you.
It’s the truth, it’s not a secret. Like I said, we’re wearing the inspiration on our sleeve. What is the point if us as musicians if we can’t learn from the guys that come before us? I hope 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 we don’t, then what was the point of us doing this?”
Charlamagne then asked Mars if he was ever “pissed off” by the cultural appropriation critics, and Mars said he wasn’t fazed. Rather, he understands that Black creators are oftentimes not given the credit they deserve. “There’s merit to what people are saying about Black entertainers not getting their flowers,” he said. “I’m champion of that, I’m with that. […] I understand. It’s just Twitter, man.”
Watch a clip of Mars and .Paak’s interview on The Breakfast Club above.
Bruno Mars is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.