Bruno Mars‘ name was trending on Sunday over more than just his performance at the 2017 BET Awards.
A Twitter user named Jenn M. Jackson took to Twitter just hours before Mars was scheduled to perform to accuse him of appropriating Black culture.
“I really need y’all to stop with this Bruno Mars praise and be more critical about the ways we understand [cultural] appropriation,” Jackson, who writes at the Washington Post as well as B***h Media, said on Twitter.
I really need y’all to stop with this Bruno Mars praise and be more critical about the ways we understand appropriation.
— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) June 25, 2017
Jackson then went on to describe how Mars, whose father is half-Latino and half-Jewish and whose mother is Filipino, was appropriating the funk genre, which was built up by Black people, solely for money.
“[Bruno Mars] is a non-black person of color (POC) who has recently decided that singing funk music is economically productive,” Jackson continued.
She added, “These claims that Bruno Mars is ‘bringing funk back’ [erase the legacies of] black funk artists who pioneered the tradition. Funk never left. Funk was a black thing and now, white people [think they own it, too]. That’s [cultural] appropriation.”
Bruno Mars’ fans came to his defense, with one fan, @hypebruno, writing, “[Bruno has] stated [before] that he’d be nothing without black artists. He’s appreciating [their artistry], not appropriating it.”
The fan described Bruno as “a woke legend [who] understands black [music] is American music.”
The argument started trending on Twitter, with users taking sides on whether Mars was appropriating Black music or not, though it seemed that most were in support of him performing at the BET Awards.
What do you think, Grio fam? Which side of the argument do you come down on?