British-Liberian Artist Lina Iris Viktor Accuses Kendrick Lamar of Stealing her Work for “Black Panther” Music Video

Left, an image from the video for “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA; right, the painting “Constellation I” by Lina Iris Viktor. Credit Left, Universal Music Group; right, Lina Iris Viktor, via Mariane Ibrahim Gallery
Left, an image from the video for “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA; right, the painting “Constellation I” by Lina Iris Viktor. Credit Left, Universal Music Group; right, Lina Iris Viktor, via Mariane Ibrahim Gallery

The team behind “Black Panther,” the film featuring the first black superhero to appear in mainstream comics, is facing allegations by a British-Liberian artist that her work was used without permission in Kendrick Lamar’s just-released music video for “All the Stars,” a song from the movie’s soundtrack.

On Saturday, Christopher Robinson, a lawyer for the artist Lina Iris Viktor, sent a letter to Mr. Lamar’s mentor and label head, Anthony Tiffith at Top Dawg Entertainment, alleging a copyright violation of the 24-karat gold, patterned artworks in her series of paintings “Constellations.” Ms. Viktor had been contacted twice by the film’s creators for permission to feature her work, the letter says, but she decided not to participate.

“The infringement of Ms. Viktor’s rights is willful and egregious,” the letter says, adding that the artist 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.”

In a telephone interview, Ms. Viktor said, “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. And at the same time they’re stealing from African artists.”

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