April 20th is behind us now, and you all know the relevance of that! 420, which the date looks like, has long been a number with deep meaning in weed culture, and so, the date is widely celebrated by stoners as a sacred marijuana holiday. In celebration of this event, Snapchat had introduced a special filter, to mark the day, called the Bob Marley filter, and they massively screwed up!
Picture Source Snapchat Bob Marley Filter
The Reggae singer is an international legend, known for his distinctive songwriting and vocal style, but in the recent years, has also been heralded as an icon of weed culture, which he did partake in, but obviously isn’t his only defining trait.
The Bob Marley filter in question superimposes the late singer’s face over the user’s, while adding cartoon dreadlocks and a cap. Users, however, weren’t as amused as they’d hoped, accusing the social media company of creating the digital equivalent of blackface, a highly racist caricature of a Black person. Twiteratti immediately took to blasting Snapchat for it’s culturally insensitive and hugely inappropriate feature that reduced the legacy of the musical genius to a pot joke!
hoooooooly shit @Snapchat what the fuck were you thinking with the Bob Marley blackface filter?
— Rosie (@rsiereilly) April 20, 2016
Snapchat's half-baked 420 nod is a Bob Marley blackface filter?! Dude was Jamaican! Did waaaay more than smoke weed. pic.twitter.com/t6tazxnMxT
— Brian Ries (@moneyries) April 20, 2016
How many more times will racism be brushed off for entertainment or amusement?
— ℳ (@QMVIA) April 20, 2016
Although the filter was reportedly given the green signal by Marley’s estate, fans of the legendary musician were highly enraged, even bashing Kylie Jenner for using the filter in a public video shared by her.
but of course Kylie Jenner used that terrible Bob Marley Snapchat filter pic.twitter.com/3Ieoz48ust
— Elena Cresci (@elenacresci) April 20, 2016
Did @Snapchat REALLY think it would be a good idea to introduce a black face Bob Marley filter?
— Dean (@deanvictorr) April 20, 2016
Bob Marley @Snapchat filter is egregious and should be pulled. Not just because of blackface, but because it's petty to reduce him to 4/20.
— Jake Kivanç (@KivancJake) April 20, 2016
Snapchat, however, stood its ground, defending their weird tribute, in spite of the backlash they faced.
“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. Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley’s music, and we respect his life and achievements.“
What do you think? Was this really a harmless thing as Snapchat claims, or was it highly offensive and demeaning?