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Why Are Web Artists Upset With Rihanna + Azealia Banks?

Rihanna Azealia Banks
Bryan Bedder / Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images

Creators and fans of the visual aesthetic known by some as seapunk are speaking out against Rihanna and Azealia Banks, whom they say ripped off the fashion and design trend during recent performances and music videos.

Buzzfeed compiled a list of angry tweets and visual evidence, most of which is centered around RiRi’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ performance this weekend, where she and her band played ‘Diamonds’ in front of a green screen displaying trippy digital images. That was followed one day later by the release of Banks’ ‘Atlantis’ video, which utilized a similar visual concept, with Greek columns, ocean waves and animated 3D designs popping up behind the singer.

Both resembled the art produced by Jerome of LOL Boys and many other web performers. After ‘SNL,’ Jerome tweeted, “Rihanna I see you,” and yesterday he sent out the presumably sarcastic message, “#teamriri #teamazealia.”

While it may be unfortunate that some innovative artists’ styles have been borrowed and taken into the mainstream, that’s pretty much how pop culture has always worked, isn’t it? Below, compare Rihanna’s ‘SNL’ performance and Banks’ music video with a 2010 video from Jerome’s LOL Boys. Do you think she and her team stole this visual aesthetic?

Next: Vote for Your Favorite Rihanna Hairdo

Watch Rihanna Perform ‘Diamonds’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Watch Azealia Banks’ ‘Atlantis’

Watch LOL Boys’ ‘123’

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