Bruno Mars is caught in a heated debate about cultural appropriation after an activist accused the singer of being a culture vulture profiting off black music, per CNN’s Deena Zaru.

Bruno Mars’ mother is Filipina and his father is Puerto Rican and Jewish. The Grammy-winning artist is known for blending funk, soul, R&B, reggae and hip-hop on his music.

“Cultural appropriation,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is “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.”

“Bruno Mars 100% is a cultural appropriator. He is not black, at all, and he plays up his racial ambiguity to cross genres,” writer and activist Seren Sensei said in a clip for “The Grapevine.”

“What Bruno Mars does, is he 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. He’s a karaoke singer, he’s a wedding singer, he’s the person you hire to do Michael Jackson and Prince covers. Yet Bruno Mars has an Album of the Year Grammy and Prince never won an Album of the Year Grammy.”

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