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Kendrick Lamar: Video for 'All The Stars' accused of plagiarising British-Liberian artist

Lina Iris Viktor claims she was approached twice by Marvel representatives about her artwork but did not give permission for it to be used 

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Monday 12 February 2018 10:17 GMT
A still from the video for 'All the Stars' by Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA
A still from the video for 'All the Stars' by Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA (Kendrick Lamar VEVO/screengrab)

Kendrick Lamar and SZA's video for "All the Stars" has been accused of stealing art by a British-Liberian artist without her permission, it has been reported.

The song from the Black Panther soundtrack, which was produced and curated by Lamar and Top Dawg's Anthony Tiffith, saw an accompanying video released last week.

According to the New York Times, Lina Iris Viktor said representatives from Marvel reached out to her in November 2016, and again in December 2017, about using her artwork in the film, but she ultimately declined their offers.

However, similar images and themes to her series Constellations are seen in the video for Lamar's music video around the 2.59 mark.

A letter from Viktor's lawyer Christopher Robinson was sent to Tiffith over the weekend, alerting him to the copyright violation. Viktor told the New York Times: "It's an ethical issue, because what the whole film purports is that it's about black empowerment, African excellence - that's the whole concept of the story. And at the same time they're stealing from African artists."

She told the publication that she found out about the video from friends who called her to say they had seen her work in it. A story in Okay Africa about the video noted: "The work and influence of British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor can be clearly spotted."

The letter detailing the alleged infringement says the video contains 19 seconds of footage which "incorporates not just the immediately-identifiable and unique look of her work, but also many of the specific copyrightable elements in the Constellations series of paintings, including stylised motifs of mythical animals, gilded geometric forms on a black background, and distinctively textured areas and patterns, arrayed in a grid-like arrangement of forms."

(Kendrick Lamar VEVO/screengrab (Kendrick Lamar VEVO/screengrab)

In an interview, Viktor said she cared about the principle more than compensation, explaining: "Cultural appropriation is something that continually happens to African-American artists, and I want to make a stand."

The Independent has reached out to representatives for Lamar and Meyers for comment.

Black Panther is set for release on 12 February in UK cinemas and is expected to be one of the biggest films of the year - with a record for first day ticket pre-sales for a superhero film already broken.

Read our review of the film here.

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