The Grapevine YouTube series started a firestorm with a video discussing whether Bruno Mars is a cultural appopriator or not. Bruno Mars’ music has explored soul, funk, and most recently new jack swing on his Grammy-winning 24K album. Many music fans feel like his Asian/Latino/Jewish heritage put his artistic validity in question – but 9th Wonder isn’t one of those people. In a sweeping twitter thread that he deemed a “sociology study on influence and exposure,” he surmised that “for some of ya’ll…It’s NOT the sound…it’s NOT the feeling…it’s the popularity of the situation you are concerned with.”
9th Wonder noted that with the lack of FUBU outlets like The Arsenio Hall Show, and Video Soul, Rap City and YO! MTV Raps, coverage of Black music is left to the mainstream. ”We are now fighting for space in a mainstream culture, when during that time…we were mainstream all along,” he said. 9th then notes that Black culture was being “studied,” not just by Black people, but all different races. He surmised that popular Black music influenced kids of all nationalities and ethnicities, including a young Bruno Mars.
“So what do we want…in a culture that is Universal as math…how do we expect to for our culture now to be accept by mainstream (in which half of y’all don’t even recognize brilliance in artists UNTIL it’s slammed in your face by mass media..)..and NOT INFLUENCE the masses,” he tweeted. He finished the thread with a brilliant Black Panther analogy, asking “we have Vibranium and all of this wonderful technology and art…should we keep it in Wakanda? Or….”
Check out his full thoughts below.