Shocked Bob Marley fans vent fury at ‘blackface’ Snapchat filter
Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter celebrating 420 was lambasted across social media for being racist, as well as reductive of the reggae artist’s life and work.
The company’s efforts to gain traction on the cannabis culture scene went up in smoke when it launched a filter allowing users to overlay their own face with that of the reggae legend, including his signature Rastafarian dreadlocks.
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
but of course Kylie Jenner used that terrible Bob Marley Snapchat filter pic.twitter.com/3Ieoz48ust— Elena Cresci (@elenacresci) April 20, 2016
The image of Marley - capitalist critic and Pan-African advocate - has been used both officially and unofficially to promote products such as Mellow Mood Berry Soda, Hemp Body Wash and $80 sweat pants.
While Snapchat’s smoking holiday filter has been given the thumbs up by Marley’s estate, fans of the musician on Twitter don’t seem to be feeling the positive vibration.
The filter has been compared to ‘blackface’ and described as ‘disrespectful’ to his life’s work.
Did @Snapchat REALLY think it would be a good idea to introduce a black face Bob Marley filter?— Dean (@deanvictorr) April 20, 2016
wow that … absolutely is a blackface snapchat filter— The Thirst Avenger (@DavidUzumeri) April 20, 2016
This Bob Marley snap filter is disrespectful to his legacy. @Snapchat— OXTAIL GAWD (@ThatDudeMCFLY) 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
I'm not even mad about that blackface. I'm upset that bob Marley is mostly associated with smoking when he was SO much more #420 #snapchat— Chigozie Ndolo (@GozieNdolo) April 20, 2016
In a statement, Snapchat defended the odd tribute, telling Forbes that the filter “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.”