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Kendrick Lamar Paid Homage to the Iconic Images of Photojournalist Gordon Parks With His ‘Element’ Video

2 minute read

Kendrick Lamar‘s striking new music video for his track “Element” is a meditation on the complexities, struggles, and triumphs of the black experience in America, something that was further emphasized by his earnest homage to the images of legendary photojournalist and filmmaker Gordon Parks.

When the DAMN. rapper’s video dropped on Wednesday afternoon, many people were quick to note the footage’s striking resemblance to many of Parks’ iconic photos of black life in America — from a touching image of a boy with a ladybug on his head that brought to mind Parks’ “Boy With Junebug” to a clip of women wearing headwraps that references Parks’ famed 1963 photo essay for LIFE about Black Muslims, “The White Man’s Day Is Almost Over.”

The homage wasn’t lost on the Gordon Parks Foundation, whose executive director, Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., told Okayplayer that the music video honors the late photographer.

“The Gordon Parks Foundation is pleased to see Kendrick Lamar recognize Gordon Parks’ important photography while working at LIFE magazine and honoring his legacy,” Kunhardt said. “The Gordon Parks Foundation uses Gordon’s creative work to educate and inspire young artists.”

A pioneer, Parks was a noted as a trailblazer in film, documentary, music, and literature. Watch the “Element” video below.

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com