Snapchat, the ephemeral photo sharing service, may have gone too far with its latest face filter.
April 20, also know as 4/20, is a celebrated day in cannabis consuming communities across the world.
While the exact origin of the celebration is hazy, for years habitual and non-habitual users have come together every 4/20 to partake in marijuana consumption.
— Casey Johnston (@caseyjohnston) April 20, 2016
Snapchat, like it does for most cultural celebrations, released a face-altering filter—called a lens—in honor of the holiday.
When applied, the user gains the appearance of Jamaica’s most famous musician, Bob Marley, with dreadlocks, dark pigmentation, and a rastacap.
— Cloe (@cloe_louisee) April 20, 2016
Internet users are not pleased about Snapchat’s 4/20 lens. Numerous individuals have called the filter offensive and racist, for several reasons.
While some are outraged at Snapchat’s use of blackface—dubbed “digital blackface”—others are disgusted by the one-dimensional representation of the deceased Reggae musician and black activist as nothing other than a marijuana smoker.
Bob Marley was a pro-black messenger, voice for the poor & disadvantaged, a prolific political figure and @Snapchat reduced him to a stoner.
— Toni Macaroni (@tonimacncheese) April 20, 2016
Marley openly consumed marijuana during his lifetime as part of his Rastafarian spiritual beliefs.
Snapchat released the following statement regarding the Marley filter.
“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.”
Kylie Jenner, a prominent Snapchat user, has been criticized for her use of the Marley lens.
What do you think about Snapchat’s controversial Bob Marley lens?
The Bob Marley snapchat thing is blackface in 2016 effectively. Digital disrespect
— Elijah (@Eli1ah) April 20, 2016
It’s sad that Bob Marley worked so hard towards equality, love and peace, but our generation just remembers him as a smoking icon.
— Bradley Bowers (@BradleyBowers2) April 20, 2016