Just in time for the Grammys...
Black Panther earworm, “All The Stars” from Kendrick Lamar & SZA is having a good year, having just secured Grammy nominations. But a serious lawsuit hanging over their heads likely tainted things a bit.
However, it looks like a settlement has been reached.
The copyright infringement lawsuit, filed by British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor, accused the pair (and by extension, Top Dawg Entertainment and director Dave Myers) of appropriating her Constellations painting series (thusly entitled, Constellations I, Constellations II, and Constellations III) for the hit song’s music video.
In turn, the rapper and singer requested the presiding judge to block Viktor from receiving any profits from the song or the film’s soundtrack album.
According to court documents obtained via Pitchfork, Lamar and SZA reached a settlement on Dec. 21. Subsequently, the case has closed and the judge has dismissed all related claims. Pitchfork is awaiting comment from the Grammy-nominated artists.
It was a case of “imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery,” as Viktor claimed she declined Marvel’s request to use her artwork for Black Panther. Still, art similar to Viktor’s work appeared in the music video from the film’s soundtrack.
“We walked away. That’s the last I heard,” Viktor told the New York Times in November.
The appropriation stung extra bitterly since it was from work by black musicians and centered around a film set in Africa, albeit within a fictional country. Still, the hurt was felt.
“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,” Viktor said to NYT at the time.
Hopefully, the settlement is satisfactory to all parties, as this surely was a series of unfortunate events.