By Sandra Rose  | 

Kendrick Lamar

Rapper Kendrick Lamar faces allegations of copyright infringement by an African artist who alleges he misappropriated her copyrighted artwork for his music video, "All the Stars".

On Saturday, a lawyer for Lina Iris Viktor, a British-Liberian artist, sent a letter to Lamar and label head, Anthony Tiffith at Top Dawg Entertainment, detailing the copyright violation of a painting in her series "Constellations."

According to the NY Times, Ms. Viktor had been approached twice by a public relations firm -- once in Nov. 2016 and again in Dec. 2017 -- inquiring about the rights to use her artwork to promote a movie, then titled "Motherland".

The public relations firm DDA contacted Ms. Viktor's art dealer Mariane Ibrahim-Abdi Lenhardt, on behalf of Marvel and Disney Studios. The firm had asked several artists to create artwork inspired by the Black Panther comic book character for use in promoting the film, including a music video and posts on social media.
SEE ALSO: Petition Accuses Marvel Studios, Disney of ‘Blatantly Targeting Black Community
Ms. Viktor considered the offer but ultimately rejected DDA's demand that she sign over her rights to the artwork, "thereby foregoing all her artistic control," according to the letter.

“We’re in an age when no is supposed to mean no in whatever field you’re in,” Christopher Robinson, Viktor's attorney, said in a telephone interview with The Times. “It’s outrageous that they’re taking advantage of her."

"All the Stars" music video received rave reviews for the gorgeous visuals, but the song was not a smash hit and it currently sits at #54 on the Billboard chart.

Ms. Viktor said she found out from friends that her artwork was used in Lamar's music video.

Although the painting in the music video was not an exact replica of "Constellations," there are enough elements within the painting to be confused for Ms. Viktor's work.

“It's really tricky because style is not protected," said Nancy E. Wolff, a copyright lawyer who currently serves as the president of the Copyright Society of the USA, “but I can see why everyone assumed this artist was involved.”

She added that the gold-on-black elements of Ms. Viktor’s work “is so strong, it’s just going to look like it’s the same."

Ms. Viktor and her art dealer were not impressed by Disney and Marvel Studios' plans to promote the Black Panther movie using her artwork.

“We were not interested in giving exclusivity for promotion of a [movie] campaign,” Ms. Ibrahim said in an interview. “My main objective was to bring that work to the art community, collectors and institutions.”

She added: “Cultural appropriation is something that continually happens to African-American artists, and I want to make a stand."


  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    Pay up & keep it moving!
    Do not drag it out, if this is true.

  • MookieFly

    Obvi Kendrick had little to do with this woman's artwork being stolen. Wrong to spin it that way. They should still pay her

  • Scorpiess

    Shame the song is not a banger (or at least well received). If they stole her artwork then pay up. It makes a mockery of black pride / power otherwise.

  • Yardgirl

    Although the painting in the music video was not an exact replica of “Constellations,” there are enough elements within the painting to be confused for Ms. Viktor’s work.
    Sooooo NOT her work, a lil summ summ like her work. Le sigh. Let the lawyers figure out a settlement and keep it moving.

  • the guest

    This is just the beginning...of lawsuits to come.

    Marvel has engaged the entire black panther movie and all involved in one of history's largest racial and cultural appropriations. The actors have to eat, they are not at fault only pawns in the game.

    They approached this artist. She said no. Although it is not an exact replica, they used a variation of her work and there is a paper and communication trail to prove it.

    There are no ethics in Hollywood, certainly not in regard to people of the African diaspora and their creativity.

  • the guest

    Certainly he didn't know about it. Now that he does or may know, there's no way he'll stand for an African artist not being properly acknowledged and compensated.

  • Dowoop

    Or maybe she said no so they bought from someone who said yes with similar work. A quick google search will show that she is not the only one who has this type of work.

  • Dowoop

    How is Kendrick Lamar culturally appropriating her? Isnt he black? If something that is similar to her artwork is in Kendrick Lamar's video what does this have to do with Black Panther? I read this write up twice to make sure i didnt miss it but nowhere does it say she is suing Disney/Marvel or that they used her art?

  • Y’all Jealous Cuz I’m Prudy

    They should pay her but I bet they would prefer to drag it out because they don't have an ethical bone in their bodies.

    If they did, they would have quietly wrote her a check and apology, took down the art work and kept it moving. I hope she gets what she wants.

  • MookieFly

    I can see him paying directly to the artist or at least acknowledging the artist going forward.

  • MookieFly

    I wonder how long they knew about the pending lawsuit before the video was released. I also wonder if the art is inspired by something else originally

  • Y’all Jealous Cuz I’m Prudy

    They went to her to make numerous offers and when she turned them down, they altered the art a little bit but still used it. I don't think Kendrick Lamar knew what was going on but now that he does, he may want to step up and advise his lawyers to do right by this lady. This could come back years later to hurt his career. And Disney just needs to pay up. They were wrong in how they handled this.

  • the guest

    Not Kendrick Lamar. MARVEL, their public relations firm DDA, Hollywood are appropriating her. They approached her and she said no. So they circumvented her artistic rights and integrity and has someone make work inspired by her work.

  • the guest

    My goodness, black folks need to be uneqivocally vigilant when it comes to protecting what belongs to and is born of them.

    A google search is not needed to know there is plenty of African art similar to this artist.

    But Marvel/Disney/DDA didn't approach artists of similar work, they approached this one artist and she turned them down BEFORE they got an artist to create a replica of her work.

    So there is a paper and communication trail of clear cut and intentional appropriation.

  • the guest

    Absolutely Kendrick is conscious and courageous enough to go against the grain and do what is right!

    If Kendrick was on the team that approached this artist and she said no, he would have respected the sister and said lets go in another creative direction.

    There are a zillion forms, techniques, and expressions of African art. And when they got a new artist, they should have given them an abstract of what the video is about and let them create from their soul, not ask them to imitate the art of someone who turned them down.

  • Mahogany

    No actually a lot like her work. I am familiar with her work, I follow her on IG and when I first saw the video it reminded me of her work right away. I even thought that maybe they commissioned her to do it.

  • Queen B

    She said no somebody else said yes! Keep it moving honey its business

  • ReadingIsFundamental4Real

    First those don't look alike and second inspired work is not copying work. What he used n be seen in many many art pieces from Africa. I have an African blanket that looks like that. It was a gift 4 or so years ago.

  • Dowoop

    AND AGAIN - It doesnt say they used her work. It says Kendrick Lamar used it. And thats like saying black people shouldnt drive because they didnt invent the car. Someone said this to me on another channel and thought how ridiculous he sounded. You sound just as ridiculous.

  • Dowoop

    Show me where it says Disney/Marvel used art like hers. The article only mention her seeing work similar to hers in the Kendrick Lamar video.

  • the guest

    AND AGAIN- Kendrick Lamar didn't approach her, Kendrick Lamar didn't present her with a contract. Marvel/Disney/DDA did and there is a paper and communication trail of them being turned down before they commissioned for her work to be appropriated THEN presented to Kendrick.

    What is ridiculous is your resorting to insults and condescension to express your view in contrary. Without insulting and condescending you, I stand by my perspective based on law and fact that the black African artist at subject was victimized by intentional appropriation and is deserving of amend.

  • Dowoop

    Im not going to waste my time as you clearly have zero interest of looking at this objectively.

  • Dowoop

    Some people on here dont get that.

  • the guest

    And that was Disney's intention to replicate her work and appear like it was her work in relation to her turning them down.

    In the fine art world, there are people who make a living imitating artists for corporations. A few years ago a few professional graffiti artists sued McDonald's for appropriating their art for a campaign they turned down.

    Big corporations try to steal art, swagger, vibe, and cred all the time.

  • the guest

    Best to you as this is a free forum to harmoniously disagree. I stand by black artistic integrity being honored.

  • Gloria

    Pay the girl and keep it moving ?????

  • pure_rachet

    I don't care about this lol. First time I felt this way and I'm not even reading the comments. Alert me for new post.

  • MookieFly

    I know this should have been resolved way before the video was released. It's all CGI anyway. Just switch out the texture.

  • Ebony N’ Sweet

    Kendrick Lamar don't really care about black people, so i'm not surprised that he would steal from another black artist.

  • Trace da Ace

    really dont care about this...hell didnt even see the video or read this whole write up...moving on

  • Courtney Wheeler

    discovered this artist several years ago. she is soooo dope. Hip Hop will not cant go around jacking ppl work and calling it tribute. Run her...her money

  • Skin Deep Beauty

    Don't like anything about KL... His uncle is is FEARED and still beleive he killed that girl at the start of his career.. This fool can rot!

  • Marc Jacobe

    Did she invent triangles and circles? Black and gold? GTFOH

  • Enoughsaid2020

    People aways trying to get money. She better sue the world, because these colors are used alot. SMH!

  • doug ortiz

    Oh, yeah. Let me just say "#metoo".

  • doug ortiz

    WTF? Do you speak English? Are you saying you discovered a dope called jack that runs away with money?

  • Lola

    I agree. Sorry, but in this world, ppl with money and influence will get what they want sooner or later. You can decline, but just know there are 100 artists behind you waiting for their shot!