It was supposed to be a little treat for users. After all, it’s 4/20, which is the unofficial marijuana holiday, and nobody’s more famous for his marijuana consumption than reggae legend and Jamaican demigod Bob Marley. So, Snapchat users were given the option to Marley-ify their pictures with dreads, a big floppy hat, and… dark skin. Uh oh. The Snapchat Bob Marley filter is being called ‘blackface’ by lots of offended parties.
“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,” said a Snapchat statement.
Of course, the fact that the Marley Estate signed off on it doesn’t make it any less tone-deaf. After all, blackface has been offensive for decades at this point, with people getting in trouble for using makeup to look more like their favorite character from Orange Is The New Black and the like. Maybe it’s not as well known in Jamaica, but here in the United States, someone should have known better than to allow this to turn users black. Maybe just dreads and a hat next time?
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