ARTICLES AND BOOKS BY WRITER BEN AROGUNDADE
Is Bruno Mars Black? 450,000 Google Questions About His
Ethnicity, Race, Nationality And Parents Background
BRUNO'S BACKGROUND: Is Bruno Mars black? Almost half a million online fans Google a range of questions about the race, ethnicity and nationality of the Hawaiian-born music star. In fact, his ancestry is a complex mix of African, European, Asian and Indian.
*BRUNO MARS ETHNICITY, NATIONALITY, RACE, ACCORDING TO GOOGLE SEARCH
The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “What race is Bruno Mars?” each month.
The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Bruno Mars nationality” each month.
The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase “Bruno Mars ethnicity” each month.
*All figures for “Bruno Mars Ethnicity, Nationality, Race According to Google Search”, supplied by Google. Stats include global totals for laptop and desktop computers and mobile devices.
BRUNO MARS EPITOMISES the ethnic ambiguity of so many of today's celebrities. The curiosity about his ancestry is sending increasing numbers of online fans to Google for answers. By Ben Arogundade.
IS AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER Bruno Mars black? 45,000 online fans are not sure. That is the approximate global number who Google this exact question about the music celebrity each year. Altogether, the search engine records a total of approximately 450,000 annual searches for various questions on the topic of Mars’ race, ethnicity, nationality and parents background.
Why are so many fans curious? Because, like actress Rosario Dawson, Mars’ look is EA — ethnically ambiguous; he has frizzy black hair, light skin and “mixed” features. His look sends thousands of confused fans to the browsers of their smartphones, tablets and computers for some racial and ethnic clarification. So, what exactly is his background?
Mars (real name Peter Hernandez Jr) was born into a family of musicians in Honolulu, Hawaii on October 8, 1985. His father, Pete Hernandez, is of Puerto Rican, Hungarian and Ukrainian ancestry, while his late mother, Bernadette was Filipino. Mars’ father is a singer and founder member of a Hawaiian vocal group called the Love Notes. His mother, a hula dancer, also sang with the group. She died of a brain aneurysm in 2013.
ETHNICITY & NATIONALITY
Although he may look biracial, Mars ethnic background is more complex. The Philippines, where his mother was born, has a diverse history that includes people of east-Asian (mainly Chinese), South-east Asian and European (mainly Spanish) heritage. Added to this, on Mars’ father’s side, most Puerto Ricans are descendants of Taíno Indians, Africans, Europeans, or a combination of these ethnic groups. Mars shares his part Puerto-Rican ancestry with other celebrities such as Hollywood actress Zoe Saldana and supermodel Joan Smalls.
The 28-year-old star, who began his music career as an Elvis impersonator, and is set to be the chosen act at the 2014 Super Bowl, evokes the same questions about race and ethnicity as other light-skinned music contemporaries such as Beyonce and Rihanna. The question often asked is, has their ethnic ambiguity contributed to their ability to crossover to wider audiences? Does light skin and “EA features” sell more records than dark skin and a more African face? Opinions differ, but one thing is for certain — no one crosses over without first having talent, and a bunch of decent tunes.
WATCH: BRUNO MARS INTERVIEW ON 'THE JONATHAN ROSS SHOW'
PHOTO BIOGRAPHY: Hawaiian-born Bruno Mars, bottom left, was one of six children born to Peter and Bernadette Hernandez (centre).
NEXT: MORE MULTI-RACIAL MUSIC STARS