Ne-Yo Sounds Off On Bruno Mars, Cultural Appropriation & Black Critics

The ‘Good Man’ creator has something to say to people complaining about melding genres.

(AllHipHop News) Some Soul/R&B fans continue to question the authenticity of Bruno Mars making “black music.” The Grammy-winning vocalist recently became a trending topic when Twitter users began debating whether Mars was guilty of cultural appropriation.

Bruno Mars has routinely acknowledged the musical forefathers - such as Babyface, Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis - that inspired him. Babyface showed appreciation for the Hawaiian-born, multicultural musician's shout out, and producer 9th Wonder offered a defense for the "Finesse" performer against his detractors.

Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo was also asked about the topic during an interview with Genius. The creator of hits such as “Closer" and "Miss Independent" supported Mars’ modern take on Funk and New Jack Swing.

“Bruno Mars is ridiculously talented, and the songs that everybody’s talking about are just that damn good to where I don’t honestly feel like it would matter who else was singing them,” replied Ne-Yo. “If you were singing them the way he’s singing them and giving the character, charisma, and personality to them the way he’s giving them, then I feel like they’d be just as successful.”

He continued, “I don’t think it has anything to do with black music, white music, whatever nationality [Bruno Mars] is.”

Later in the conversation, Ne-Yo doubled down on his belief that music is supposed to be for all listeners, regardless of race. The 38-year-old entertainer then reflected on criticism he apparently received for making EDM-inspired tunes.

“God put music in me - not R&B music, not Dance music, not Pop music, but music. I could turn around and do a Country record if I feel like,” said Ne-Yo. “This is who I am, this is what I am. And I’m not gonna downplay that because a few black people are mad because I ain’t doing just R&B no more. The world is bigger than that.”