Bruno Mars’ Mixed Race Has Always Confused People

Bruno Mars is one of the most popular artists of our time, but is he black, Latino, Philippine, or all of the above? His mom is Spanish and Philippine and his father is Puerto Rican and Jewish, and as an added bonus he was born in Hawaii. He’s always had to deal with people guessing his identity, and he’s not alone because there are many like him of mixed background like him that are in this “gray zone.”

“Growing up in Hawaii, there are not too many Puerto Ricans there,” says Mars, “so because of my hair, they thought I was black and white,” says Bruno to Latina Magazine. Growing up with a mixed background gives you the opportunity to learn about different cultures and you also learn to grow a thick skin because even today people are not very accepting.

“There are a lot of people who have this mixed background that are in this gray zone,” he says. “A lot of people think, ‘This is awesome. You’re in this gray zone, so you can pass for whatever the hell you want.’ But it’s not like that at all. It’s actually the exact opposite. What we’re trying to do is educate people to know what that feels like so they ’ll never make someone feel like that ever again. Which is a hard thing to do. Because no one can see what we see and no one can grow up with what we grew up with. I hope people of color can look at me, and they know that everything they’re going through, I went through. I promise you.”