Bruno Mars Cultural Appropriation

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In a recent article by CNN, pop artist Bruno Mars was found accused of “cultural appropriation,” by critics of his new album, “24k Magic.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines “cultural appropriation” as “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture." Writer and activist, Seren Sensei posits that Mars’ “takes pre-existing work and he just completely, word-for-word recreates it, extrapolates it," she added. "He does not create it, he does not improve upon it, he does not make it better.” The singer is known for combining different genres such as hip-hop, soul, R&B, and others rooted in traditionally African-American culture. While some saw his new album…show more content…
Eliot’s work also declared that the individual elements of the artist should be filtered out of their work, and the artist should only serve as a “medium” for transmitting the words (148). In today’s society, however, identity markers and individualism are at a peak, and the rise of technology no doubt exacerbates our obsession with crediting the individual for their work. In the case of Mar’s, the criticism is not focused on his work, but the man, Bruno Mars, his identity. In the discussion of “cultural appropriation” we place the individual on trial, but that barely addresses the larger issue: the societal privileging of the individual. French Philosopher Michel Foucault asserts in his essay “What is an Author?” that “The coming into being of the notion of the ‘author’ constitutes the privileged moment of individualization in the history of ideas (157). Appropriation of a work then, may perhaps be rooted in a system of property that allows an impossible notion of authorship to exist. This notion is impossible because an idea, any idea, is not original or owned. If the “newness” of music is based on influence from the past, influence that constantly enters our thoughts through the radio, music we hear at social events, etc, how are we to craft anything
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