On Sunday, the biggest pop stars in the world descended on the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the Billboard Music Awards, which celebrates those who have achieved the best in the charts. There were a whole host of different performances by the lives of Van Halen, Wiz Khalifa, Ed Sheeran and more, but a few have made headlines beyond that night. People have scratched their heads over the censorship that occurred during Kanye's set and perhaps more under the radar, but newly reported by Vice's Thump, is a potential theft of intellectual property by David Guetta and Nicki Minaj. The pair performed their hit single, "Hey Mama," and some of the background installations look almost identical to those of a Burning Man art installation known as the HYBYCOZO series.
The similarity was so startling that people who weren't even familiar with the project were asking the designers if they had done Guetta and Minaj's stage design.
"The size looks similar at six feet tall," says designer Yelena Filipchuck. "The pattern attempts to be a copy, we zoomed in and the composition of the pattern matched exactly [a circle in a pentagon] on a grid of lines coming out of the corners. The shape itself even had the same thicker darker edges, glowing from the inside and matched the distinctive laser-cut repeating patterns that we are known for."
It isn't clear who actually hired the designers and approved the final stage design. Billboard would have to be involved in some way to make sure it fits and it is hard to imagine Nicki's team would allow something that wouldn't look good on stage. Since it fits with the vibe of the music video, the blame probably sits at the feet of both artists.
What makes the comparison even stronger is when you look at the "Hey Mama" music video, it looks like it was taken from a Mad Max scene, with strong influences from Burning Man, despite the fact that Afrojack, Nicki Minaj and David Guetta would not fit in that atmosphere..
Guetta has not responded to a request for comment.