Kendrick Lamar’s “ELEMENT.” Video Referenced Iconic Gordon Parks Photos

Multiple scenes from the latest DAMN. visual were directly inspired by the legendary photojournalist.

June 27, 2017

On Tuesday afternoon, Kendrick Lamar released a new video for "ELEMENT.," a standout track from his DAMN. album. The clip, directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little Homies (aka Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free), features a great deal of powerful imagery and, as multiple Twitter users pointed out, directly references the work of photojournalist, writer, musician, and director Gordon Parks.


Parks was a pioneering filmmaker and photographer whose work focused on the lives of Black Americans. He is best known for his photo essays, primarily for LIFE magazine from the 1940s to the 1970s, as well as the creator of the "blaxploitation" film genre and director of 1971's Shaft.

For his video, Kendrick referenced Untitled, a 1956 photo from Parks's "Segregation Stories" series, Ethel Sharrieff, a 1963 picture from his "The White Man's Day Is Almost Over" photo essay about Black Muslims, and 1963 photo Boy With Junebug.

See stills from Kendrick's "ELEMENT." video compared to Gordon Parks's photos below.

Kendrick Lamar’s “ELEMENT.” Video Referenced Iconic Gordon Parks Photos