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Bruno Mars is known for having his music touch people from all over the world, but that hasn’t pulled him away from his roots.

In an interview with Latina Magazine, the singer opened up about the origin of his innovative sound. One thing that stood out is his declaration that American music is ‘Black music’ because everything started in Africa.

Mars told the mag, “When you say ‘black music,’ understand that you are talking about rock, jazz, R&B, reggae, funk, doo-wop, hip-hop, and Motown. Black people created it all. Being Puerto Rican, even salsa music stems back to the Motherland [Africa]. So, in my world, black music means everything. It’s what gives America its swag.”

He continued, “I’m a child raised in the ‘90s. Pop music was heavily rooted in R&B from Whitney, Diddy, Dr. Dre, Boyz II Men, Aaliyah, TLC, Babyface, New Edition, Michael, and so much more. As kids this is what was playing on MTV and the radio. This is what we were dancing to at school functions and BBQs. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for these artists who inspired me. They have brought me so much joy and created the soundtrack to my life filled with memories that I’ll never forget.”

🇵🇷 @BrunoMars is our February cover star. #BrunoOnLatina

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As for the rumors that he changed his last name to hide the fact that he’s Puerto Rican, Bruno had this to say to the haters, “I never once said I changed my last name to hide the fact that I’m Puerto Rican. Why would I fu**ing say that? Who are you fooling? And why would anyone say that? That’s so insulting to me, to my family. That’s ridiculous. My last name is Hernandez. My father’s name is Pedrito Hernandez, and he’s a Puerto Rican pimp. There’s no denying that. My dad nicknamed me Bruno since I was 2 years old. ” 

He added, “The real story is: I was going to go by ‘Bruno,’ one name. Mars just kind of came joking around because that sounds bigger than life. That was it, simple as that. I see people that don’t know what I am, and it’s so weird that it gets them upset.”

Check out what else Bruno Mars had to say in his interview with Latina.

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