Snapchat's Bob Marley filter called digital 'blackface'
Video lens released on 4/20 meant to 'respect' Marley, company says
The social messaging app Snapchat released a Bob Marley video filter Wednesday, leading to accusations that allowing users to digitally darken their skin and add dreadlocks to their selfies amounts to "blackface."
Snapchat's half-baked 420 nod is a Bob Marley blackface filter?! Dude was Jamaican! Did waaaay more than smoke weed. <a href="https://t.co/t6tazxnMxT">pic.twitter.com/t6tazxnMxT</a>—@moneyries
There's just so many layers of stupidity here. How did nobody at <a href="https://twitter.com/Snapchat">@Snapchat</a> see this passing through the pipeline and say, "Hm, wait a sec."—@moneyries
Well, there's a Bob Marley <a href="https://twitter.com/Snapchat">@Snapchat</a> filter for today. (Just in case you didn't want the effort of buying paint to do blackface.) 🙃—@TreLingual
The Bob Marley snapchat thing is blackface in 2016 effectively. Digital disrespect—@Eli1ah
Wow. There's definitely a "Bob Marley" snapchat filter. It attempts to make you a black man w dreads. Who said yes to that? 🤔🤔🤔—@RosieMarx
Snapchat was also accused of reducing the musician and activist's legacy to that of a pot smoker.
April 20, or 4/20, is a day of a celebration for pot enthusiasts, but the idea for the annual festivals originated in Southern California in the '70s and had nothing to do with the late reggae singer. The company hasn't said whether the release of the filter was meant to coincide with 4/20.
Can <a href="https://twitter.com/Snapchat">@Snapchat</a> explain to me why there's a Bob Marley filter on 4/20? You realize he did more than smoke weed, right? <a href="https://t.co/xPCOU5uQko">pic.twitter.com/xPCOU5uQko</a>—@jackquemi
Are there any Jamaicans working at Snapchat because if so I'm so sorry—@s_m_i
Snapchat released a statement to the media after several websites wrote about the lens, saying that they had the blessing of Marley's estate, and that it was meant to honour him.
"The lens we launched today was created in partnership with the Bob Marley estate, and gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music," the statement read. "Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley's music, and we respect his life and achievements."
This isn't the first time that Snapchat's video filters, or lenses, have elicited criticism.
Done with racist <a href="https://twitter.com/Snapchat">@Snapchat</a> filters. Yesterday's bindi filter, today's blackface filter, and a history of whitewashing "beauty filters"—@hignettflix