It's been a big week for seapunks. Their young, underwater-themed movement was thrust into the spotlight after two big performers debuted suspiciously seapunky acts over the weekend without crediting the movement's originators.
Rihanna's green-screened Saturday Night Live performance of "Diamonds," and Azealia Banks' "Atlantis" music video, which dropped a day later, are below. Both videos take freely from the Lisa Frank aesthetic of seapunk, a web-based art genre that was formed after someone tweeted about a dream he had about a leather jacket with barnacles as studs. Since then, seapunk has become a defined niche culture -- one where early internet iconography, bright colors, and of course, sea creatures, reign. Rihanna and Banks have both loosely linked themselves to the aesthetic simply by wearing turquoise, or in Banks' case, comparing herself to a mermaid. But this time, the seapunkers tweet to us, they've gone too far.
Did the powerful people plagiarize? The videos certainly feature more fake dolphins is standard:
Most outsiders are declaring this an unfair fight, arguing the case from a seapunk point of view. But who's protecting the marauders from reverse theft? Jerome LOL -- the pioneering seapunk artist whose fans are particularly mad at Rihanna -- posted his own remix of "Diamonds" weeks before the SNL performance. An effusive review published on Bullett Magazine's web site called the edit "a transcendentally transformative new work of art that somehow improves on the original." Nothing about swaggerjacking Rihanna. Not a line, anywhere, about "capitalist exploitation."
So it seems as there's a double standard at work here. But when one side is worth millions of dollars, and the other makes their art during off-hours from a day job, is a double standard for "borrowing" from each other only fair? Scroll through our slideshow of the most contentious artist-on-artist thefts, and let us know what you think of the crime in the comments. Art's natural order? Or always wrong?