In the last round of the cultural appropriation debate regarding Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder weighed in and defended the “24K Magic” singer, and before that producer 9th Wonder and The Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson did the same.
The topic really heated up when activist Seren Sensei said Mars benefits from music that’s traditionally made by Black artists, and now Ne-Yo has shared his thoughts.
In short, he said that people are wrong to criticize the pop star because his success comes from the songs he writes, not his race. “I don’t think it has anything to do with Black music, white music, whatever nationality [Bruno Mars] is,” said Ne-Yo.
“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,” he added. “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.”
In another part of the discussion, the “Make Me Better” crooner responded to critics who said he’s left R&B music for EDM, which he said isn’t the case at all.
“God put music in me, not R&B music, not Dance music, not Pop music but music,” Ne-Yo explained. “I could turn around and do a country record if I feel like. 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.”
As far as Bruno Mars and the cultural appropriation debate, Ne-Yo said that music is colorless and it doesn’t belong to anyone, so those blasting the Hawaiian born singer need to relax a little.
“People take music and put this ownership on it, like can’t nobody else touch it, and that’s not how it’s supposed to go,” said Ne-Yo. “Music is supposed to be for everybody. It’s about the love and appreciation … not ‘This is ours and if you don’t look like me you can’t do it.’”