Last Friday, The Grapevine published a video entitled "Is Bruno Mars a cultural appropriator?"
Of course, the video blew up on social media, with half the world defending Mars' honor (and talent) and wondering how a black man could culturally appropriate black music, and the other half lumping him into the same category as accused appropriators like Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake, knowing that Mars' is not actually black, but rather part Filipino (mother), Puerto Rican and Jewish (father).
Instead of grabbing his pitchfork and joining the parade, veteran producer 9th Wonder served as a voice of reason on Monday, both defending Mars' work ("So is it Bruno Mars fault that he was influenced by Babyface, Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis?") and offering an alternative for those who prefer to complain.
"We got BJ The Chicago Kid, SiR, Anderson .Paak, Daniel Caesar," 9th tweeted. "How about GO out and BUY/STREAM their music, popularize them and stop waiting for [the] mainstream to tell you to like them, so you can’t say 'well I didn’t know.'"
Exactly. Well said, 9th.
Instead of using energy to put down an artist or complain about an artist or accuse an artist of cultural theft—even when that artist has repeatedly given credit to his musical forebears—we should ALL be uplifting and promoting the work of those who we believe in the most.
In January, Joey Bada$$ openly bemoaned the current state of rap (see the below video), calling it "trash" and questioning where its soul went. Instead of firing off complaints, though, Joey could have been using his name and social media influence to boost the profiles of several artists whose music he does believe in.
Hip-hop nor R&B are currently in a bad place. But they would both be in a much better place if, instead of whining and bitching for retweets and likes, everyone just started showering one another with love. Try it sometime.