Rapper Kendrick Lamar and R’n’B singer SZA are being sued in the US courts over their video for the song All the Stars, which features on the soundtrack to the Marvel movie Black Panther.

The claim has been brought by artist Lina Iris Viktor. The British-Liberian conceptual and performance artist has accused the pair of attempting to recreate the ‘unique look and feel’ of her gilded ‘Constellations’ series in the video, without her permission.

She claims to have previously approached Lamar’s label through her lawyers, on the basis that she was willing to resolve the complaint in return for a public apology and a licence fee.

Her legal claim highlights the irony of the alleged infringement of her copyright, given the content of her work and the film in which the song appeared, saying:

‘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. 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.’

It goes on to make a personal attack on the stance adopted by Kendrick Lamar:

‘In contrast to his message in the song’s lyrics that ‘I hate people that feel entitled,’ and that ‘I want my credit if I am winning or I am losing,’ Defendant Lamar, who is the public face of the Infringing Video and is quick to take credit for it in public statements, has sought to distance himself from any responsibility for the video as an infringement of Plaintiff’s rights.’

In a claim for what in English law would be the flagrancy of the infringement, she relies on the fact that her work was used following a refusal by her either to lend or create a piece for the video, saying that this use was ‘both an egregious violation of federal law and an affront to the artist, her livelihood, her legacy and to artists everywhere’.

Viktor commented on her Facebook page, thanking those who had supported her and saying that she was seeking ‘justice’.

The claim was filed only very recently, and we await Kendrick Lamar’s and SZA’s response. zoom-in brief will report on developments.