Snapchat's Bob Marley filter called digital 'blackface'

The social messaging app Snapchat released a Bob Marley video filter Wednesday, leading to accusations that allowing users to add digital dreadlocks to their selfies amounts to "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 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. 

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. 


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