This Group Wore Blackface For An Impression Of Bruno Mars —& That's Just NOT Okay

Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images.
Bruno Mars gets more famous every day. The 31-year-old Hawaiian funk master rattles off hit after hit after hit. Who hasn't danced along to "24K Magic" or belted out a few chords to "Just The Way You Are"? But, a word to the wise: Don't. Ever. Impersonate. Bruno. Mars. Wearing. Blackface. Just don't wear blackface! Ever!
That feels ridiculous to say, but following what happened with a K-Pop music group, it's relevant. In early March, a popular Korean girl group, Mamamoo, dressed as Mars and his backup dancers as seen in his popular music video for "Uptown Funk" during a concert in Seoul. Yes, four Korean girls painted their faces darker to appear as if they were the same color as Mars (who is half-Puerto Rican and Filipino). Regardless of his actual ethnicity. This is so not okay.
Advertisement
This is the part where you say: WHAT THE EFF. The next day, on March 4, the girl group quickly apologized for offending anyone with their parody (which is definitely too little too late).
They wrote, according to the Facebook translation:"We are extremely sorry for our insensitive actions and use of blackface in our video while portraying Bruno Mars. There is no excuse for what we did and there are not enough words to explain how regretful we are. We are heartbroken to have hurt our international K-Pop fans so deeply. We love and care so much for all people of every race, sexuality, religion, and gender. We love all our fans and are so sorry to have hurt our fans in the black community. We understand now why our actions were wrong and we never meant to do harm with our video. We were extremely ignorant of blackface and did not understand the implications of our actions. We will be taking time to understand more about our international fans to ensure this never happens again. We hope that you will help to educate us on these and other issues so that we can become better people and better artists.
Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention and allowing us to right the wrongs that we have done.
Many of their (former) fans took to Twitter to voice their disgust at the offensive and ignorant representation of Mars. One wrote "I don't think Mamamoo can recover their image. The incident will haunt them." But the majority just pointed out that this has happened multiple times before and that they weren't too surprised that it did happen.
Advertisement
As Teen Vogue writes, this racist act is surprisingly and disappointingly common for K-Pop groups. This blackface appearance is one of many alarmingly racist moments to come from a performers like Mamamoo over the past couple years. According to Teen Vouge, this reflects an even bigger issue at hand. "So if K-Pop is the ultimate manifestation of Korean pop culture, then it's essential we call out K-Pop groups when they do something racist or offensive," the site writes. "If they're going to become one of the most visible importers and adopters of Western pop culture, then idols and their record labels (who are just as complicit, as they are often the ones in control of everything from a group's style to their songs) need to educate themselves."
It's 2017 and we should be past this, but it's better than allowing it to happen again. Mars himself, though, has had no public reaction to the offensive parody.