Just a day after artist Lina Iris Viktor accused Kendrick Lamar of appropriating her art in the video for SZA-featured track "All the Stars," another artist comes forward to make a similar claim. Today, Kendrick's "Love." video is under scrutiny for featuring imagery similar to the work of photographer Jamil GS.
GS is a celebrated New York photographer who was present for some of the most influential moments of hip-hop history. He's photographed everyone from Jay-Z, to Nas, Mary J. Blige to Diddy, but was most surprised by the work he didn't do with Kendrick Lamar. He tells Dazed:
“I’m disappointed that someone whose music I respect, and with such resources, would copy my work. When another artist or peer appropriates my work, it devalues it.
I have a clear signature style that has taken years to develop and situations like this, if not called out, make it harder for me to market my work.”
The similarities can be seen about a minute-and-a-half into the video where we see nude women against a black backdrop, illuminated by a sole light. The images bare undeniable similarities to GS' series "Outta Darkness."
The controversy surrounding “LOVE.,” which was directed by Dave Meyers & the Little Homies – the latter being an alias for Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment's Dave Free – brings to light the thin line between homage and plagiarism.
Just last June, K.Dot dropped released his co-directed "Element" music video which featured a number of scenes that referenced the work of photographer Gordon Park. This time, we praised Lamar and the video's vision, however. So, is it that the only difference between an homage and plagiarism is whether or not an artists can speak for themselves? Maybe.
What we do know is Kendrick and his team might want to start throwing some nods towards artists that inspire them, simply as a form of acknowledgment for their skilled work. Otherwise, more videos will be produced, but more plagiarism accusations will be made, leaving less and less room for positive vibes surrounding African-American Art. Watch the music video below to make your own call!