Recently, British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor has brought claims against Top Dawg Entertainment, specifically for Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s music video ‘All the Stars.’ Viktor claims the video obviously uses her artwork without her permission.
I spy Lina Iris Viktor’s work or influence/homage (amongst other artists, too, i.e. Yayoi Kusama) in this new SZA x Kendrick video. gorgeous and inspiring. pic.twitter.com/tQwD0Yy17C— huny young (@huny) February 8, 2018
In the video (from the 2:59 mark) there is a 19 second part 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 stylized 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,” according to a letter sent by Viktor’s lawyer, Christopher Robinson, to Anthony Tiffith of Top Dawg Entertainment.
Viktor was approached by a Marvel assistant to use her work in “Constellations I” (then titled “Motherland”) in Black Panther, but she refused. In December of 2017, Viktor was contacted by DDA, the public relations firm representing Marvel and Disney, asking artists to create work for promoting the film, to which Viktor also declined.
While it can be argued the music video was not explicitly using Viktor’s work, but the “aesthetic is so similar,” she might have a compelling case.