British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor claims that the music video for Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s Black Panther soundtrack single “All The Stars” features work that was used without her permission.
Fans of Viktor’s work recognized the distinctive gold patterned art that appears throughout the music video, and assumed it to be hers. However, Viktor reveals that the images are actually unauthorized reproductions of her work. According to the New York Times, representatives from Marvel contacted Viktor on multiple occasions in 2016 and 2017 to discuss collaboration, but Viktor ultimately declined the offer.
Despite Viktor’s refusal, works similar to her 2016 “Constellations” series appear in several frames of the music video for “All The Stars.”
Over the weekend, Christopher Robinson, a lawyer for Viktor, sent a letter to Anthony Tiffith, head of Top Dawg Entertainment, the label to which Kendrick Lamar and SZA are signed, outlining the infringement of her work.
“The infringement of Ms. Viktor’s rights is willful and egregious,” the letter reads in part. Another part adds that Viktor is willing “to discuss a resolution of all her claims, consisting at a minimum of a public apology for the unauthorized use and a license fee.”
“Why would they do this? 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,” says Viktor. “And at the same time they’re stealing from African artists.”