Fine artist Lina Iris Viktor has agreed to settle a lawsuit she filed against Kendrick Lamar and singer SZA saying their music video for ‘All the Stars’, part of the ‘Black Panther’ soundtrack, used her work without permission.
Viktor, a British-Liberian artist, was approached twice by representatives of the movie asking if her work could be used in the film or as part of its promotion. After deeming the agreement too restrictive, she said no.
Nonetheless, part of the video “is so clearly a copy of the artists’s work,” according to the complaint, which was filed in federal court in New York in February. Viktor sued for a portion of the profits from the sale of the single and the movie’s soundtrack.
In Viktor’s ‘Constellation’ series, golden geometric shapes float against a black background, creating a textured pattern. In one painting, a black female figure is positioned at the front, parts of her body painted in gold. In the ‘All the Stars’ video, Lamar walks through a sea of golden geometric shapes floating against a black background, past women draped in gold.
“The Infringing Video and the Movie promotes (and profits from) themes of black and female empowerment and the end of racist and gender exploitation, themes particularly topical in the current environment,” the complaint said. “Yet, in a bitter irony, the Defendants have ignored the wishes of the Artist, herself a Black African woman, whose life’s work is founded on an examination of the political and historical preconceptions of ‘blackness,’ liberation and womanhood.”
A settlement agreement was reached in principal on December 20, according to court filings, and the parties have 45 days to finalize the details.
Christopher Robinson, the lawyer who represents Viktor, said he could not discuss the terms of the settlement.
Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, founder of the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, which represents Viktor, said in an email that her client was satisfied with the terms of the deal. “I hope Lina will stand as an example for other artists regarding the importance of protecting their creations,” she said.
A representative for Lamar and SZA did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The ‘Black Panther’ movie has been both a cultural phenomenon, breaking ground in many ways, as well as an enormous moneymaker. It has pulled in $1.35 billion (Dh4.95 billion) worldwide this year.
‘All the Stars’ is nominated for four awards, including record and song of the year, at the 2019 Grammy Awards, which will take place in February.