Beyonce Knowles was recently accused of stealing dance movies from Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for her "Countdown" video, and a choreography comparison provided indisputable evidence that this was the case.
Beyonce fessed up to using some of Keersmaeker's videos as "inspiration," but also pointed out that she was also paying tribute to Audrey Hepburn's dance moves in "Funny Face," as well as other '60s and '70s icons like Brigitte Bardot , Andy Warhol , Twiggy and Diana Ross. However, she might want to be careful about just how much she borrows from other artists.
After all, earlier this year Rihanna got sued by fashion photographer/music video director David LaChapelle for mimicking some of his works in her "S&M" video. Before filing the suit, he took to Twitter to make this statement: "The next time you make a David LaChapelle music video you should probably hire David LaChapelle." Side-by-side comparisons of stills from the video and LaChapelle's works make it fairly obvious that director Melina Matsoukas plagiarized his pictures -- two examples include RiRi walking a man in bondage like a dog and dropping heart-shaped candies in her mouth with a latex covering on her head. Both scenes are almost exact replicas of some of LaChapelle's photos, so there's no way the similarities can be a coincidence.
Luckily for Christina Aguilera, she didn't get sued when she seemingly copied Lady Gaga's signature style in her "Not Myself Tonight" video. A YouTube video shows striking similarities between her sexy vid and some of Gaga's past works, including similar hair and makeup, dance moves, Alexander McQueen shoes, and a love of being pants-less. Christina has also made things worse by saying some not-so-nice things about Mama Monster in the past, once even telling the LA Times this when asked about Gaga: "I'm not quite sure who this person is, to be honest. I don't know if it is a man or a woman." She also had this to say when confronted with a question about "Not Myself Tonight" being similar to Gaga's work: "That, in particular, is not even worth wasting the breath to comment on. I've been around for over a decade and I think my work speaks for myself." However, she later said that she has nothing against Gaga and thinks that "she's great." Well, now that Christina has packed on a few pounds, at least she looks like she's not trying to be exactly like Gaga anymore.
Katy Perry was also accused of copying Gaga with her "E.T." music video -- both were set in outer space and featured the pop stars dressed up like alien beings. However, Katy's video wasn't quite as similar to Gaga's work as Christina's was.
And Beyonce is definitely not alone when it comes to being inspired by movies. It's hard to call her out for mimicking Audrey Hepburn's dance moves in "Countdown" when Michael Jackson went all "West Side Story" in his "Bad" music video. And while Kanye West is often called an innovator, he borrowed many scenes from the anime "Akira" for his "Stronger" video and copied the opening credits from Gaspar Noé's movie "Enter the Void" for "All of the Lights."
Usher was obviously inspired by the bowler hats and eye makeup of Alex and his droogs from the Stanley Kubrick movie "A Clockwork Orange" in his "My Way" music video, and Bey's hubby has also admitted to using a movie as music video inspiration -- his "D.O.A." vid paid homage to the explosions featured in Michelangelo Antonioni's hippie counterculture movie " Zabriskie Point."
Of course the musicians aren't always to blame when it comes to "borrowing" from other artists -- often video directors like Hype Williams are the ones responsible for coming up with ideas, and the musicians might not even realize where they're coming from. And there's also a fine line when it comes to paying homage to another artist and outright plagiarizing their work.
So what do you think -- is it okay for musicians to reference the work of other artists, or should they try to be completely original?More From This Contributor:
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- Audrey Hepburn
- Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
- David LaChapelle
- Beyonce Knowles