Perhaps Snapchat had the chillest of intentions when it introduced a Bob Marley filter today (April 20) in commemoration of marijuana’s biggest international holiday. But as many critics let the company know, the result wasn’t very chill.
Wired reports that the new filter honors the Jamaican reggae pioneer and professed Rastafarian by rendering users with dreadlocks and, for many, noticeably darker skin.
Many social media users criticized the social media company for both the apparent Blackface and reduction of Marley’s legacy to marijuana:
I know it’s 420…but. Bob Marley…black face…filter.. @Snapchat . Y’all didn’t think that was a little problematic??
— Paige G’bria (@PaigeGbria) April 20, 2016
Done with racist @Snapchat filters. Yesterday’s bindi filter, today’s blackface filter, and a history of whitewashing “beauty filters”
— hignettflix n’ chill (@hignettflix) 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
Snapchat responded with a statement, cited by Wired, which explained that they created the filter with Bob Marley’s estate:
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.