12/02/2018 10:42 SAST | Updated 12/02/2018 10:42 SAST

Artist Claims 'Black Panther' Soundtrack Stiffed Her

British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor's unique designs have been used in the video of Kendrick Lamar's theme to the movie without her permission.

The New York Times

A British-Liberian artist has claimed that the "Black Panther" soundtrack used her artwork without permission in Kendrick Lamar's music video for "All The Stars", which is the lead single on the movie's soundtrack.

"Why would they do this? They're stealing from African artists"– Lina Iris Viktor

According to the New York Times, Lina Iris Viktor is alleging a copyright violation of the 24-carat gold patterned artworks in her series of paintings "Constellations", which appear in the video. She was contacted by the film's creators for permission, which she says she withheld.

The New York Times

In a telephone interview, Viktor said: "Why would they do this? It's an ethical issue, because the whole film purports 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."

Read: "Black Panther" Is Explosive, Adrenaline-Pumping And Majestic

"The infringement of Ms Viktor's rights is willful and egregious," Viktor's lawyer said. In a letter written to record company Top Dawg Entertainment, it said Viktor would be willing to discuss a resolution of the incident that included a "public apology for the unauthorised use and a licence fee."

Start video at 2:59

In detailing the infringement, the letter says the video contains a 19-second segment (starting at the 2:59 mark) "that incorporates the immediately identifiable and unique look of her work. Ms Viktor said she found out about the video from friends, who called to say they'd seen her work in it."

"Cultural appropriation is something that continually happens to African-American artists," she said, "and I want to make a stand."

Viktor said what matters to her most is the principle, not compensation.

Lamar and Disney declined to comment. The video director, Dave Meyers, who oversaw the video along with Lamar and his creative partner Dave Free, did not respond to requests to comment.