- Black Panther Controversy
Black Panther doesn’t hit American screens until today, but Kendrick Lamar’s soundtrack for the film is already dominating music news for its star-studded collaborations and a copyright controversy. The album, which will soon be released on vinyl and cassette, features SZA, Vince Staples, the Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, James Blake, and many more. Yesterday, Jay Rock released the video for “King’s Dead,” his Black Panther track with Lamar, Future, and Blake. This latest single follows the debut of lead single “All the Stars” (featuring SZA), which has been the main source of the controversy; the creators behind its video have recently been accused of plagiarizing the work of British-Liberian visual artist Lina Iris Viktor for the clip’s imagery. She and her lawyer say that her painting series, “Constellation,” which features gold patterns and black female figures, was copied for a section of the video. The comparisons do seem too similar to be a coincidence, and in fact, Viktor alleges she was contacted by the “All the Stars” team about using her work but she declined to give permission – not once, but twice. The issue opens up a multi-layered debate about artistic license and usage (remember “Hotline Bling” and James Turrell?). Viktor told the New York Times, “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.”
Check out Lina Iris Viktor’s work below and then hit the three-minute mark in the video to compare.
- Congratulations On Your Efforts… Not!
In an attempt to make themselves look slightly better, the Recording Academy have given another lackluster response to the lack of female representation at The Grammys. In a letter to members, they present a challenge to USC Annenberg’s findings on gender disparity in the music industry. The study noted that among major categories in the Grammy’s between 2012-2017, only 9.3 percent of nominees were female. The Academy points out that these numbers only included Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, and Non-Classical Producer of the Year. If you take all of the Grammy categories into account then the percentage of women is a whopping seventeen percent!
Borns plays Terminal 5 tonight. Beach House released a new song this week; “Lemon Glow” will appear on their next album, which is slated for a springtime release. Frank Ocean also has a new track release, but it’s an oldie. Listen to his cover of “Moon River” below. “Black Kennedy” is the latest from mega-group August Greene (featuring Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggens). Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds will release a documentary film of a Copenhagen concert. Distant Sky will have a one-time screening around the world on April 12th. The next day, Brazilian Girls will release Let’s Make Love, their first album in a decade! They recently unveiled the video for “Pirates.” The band will embark on a short US tour, starting with Williamsburg Hall of Music on May 5th. Sleigh Bells are staying busy! On Tuesday, they played at Brooklyn Steel. They’ll return to New York in July for opening slots on an upcoming tour with Weezer and the Pixies. The Smashing Pumpkins are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a North American summer tour. Kook Keith’s alter-ego, Dr. Octoagon, is back after more than two decades! He reunites with DJ Qbert and Dan the Automator for the song, “Octagon Octagon.” Zola Jesus and Yves Tumor play an immersive performance at House of Vans next week on February 23rd. On Valentine’s Day, Kanye West reactivated his Instagram account by posting many, many pictures of celebrity couples. He’s since deleted that account and bid farewell to social media again.