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Outrage Over Bob Marley Blackface Snapchat Filter

What better way to celebrate the unofficial annual celebration of blazing it up – 20 April, or as Americans say 4/20 – with the youth of today than to have a complimentary Snapchat filter? What’s more, why not make it a Bob Marley filter, complete with beanies, dreads, and, ah, blackface?

Well, that’s what at least one exec at Snapchat must have thought in the launch of their newest filter, which superimposes Marley’s signature dreads, hat and for some reason, skin tone, over a user’s face.

As expected, people are not having it:

Oh my god oh my god oh my god snapchat put a "Bob Marley" filter and it's… bad and in poor taste, to say the least pic.twitter.com/syAHGXp3f6

— Alp Ozcelik (@alplicable) April 20, 2016

Is it just me or does anyone else find this new #BobMarley filter on @Snapchat offensive? It's 4/20 and all but just seems wrong. #Blackface

— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) April 20, 2016

Interestingly, criticism of Snapchat reducing all Bob Marley’s achievements to merely being a man who liked to smoke pot hasn’t really caught on in the news media.

420/Bob Marley: reducing a man w such political and cultural significance to a guy who got high all the time for your 420 aesthetic is ugly

— buttercup (@pvnk_princess) April 20, 2016

In a wanky statement given to the Guardian, Snapchat HQ have said the following:

“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.”

At time of writing, the filter is still there, so it seems, at least for now, Snapchat are standing by their decision.

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