Social media uproar caused by 4/20 Bob Marley Snapchat filter
Snapchat has contributed what most of the web seems to consider the most “tone-deaf” celebration of the informal hippie holiday known as 4/20 with a photo filter that attempts to make users look like reggae legend Bob Marley.
Apr. 20 has been associated with the use of marijuana for decades, yet the actual origins of the event remain shrouded in mystery. In practice, the day typically consists of individuals who smoke marijuana smoking more marijuana than usual.
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
Oh "Bob Marley" is trending hmm interesting let's just see pic.twitter.com/jcoqK6JbJN— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) April 20, 2016
While the social media platform did manage to steer clear of overt drug references, Marley is something of a cultural icon to the pot smoking community. The controversy came in when Snapchat made the decision to add an element to the photo filter that darkened users faces by blending their own with Marley’s. It also adds the dreadlocks and Rasta hat typically worn by the singer and guitarist.
Facebook and Twitter were quickly enraged on Wednesday at the filter’s introduction, which many users are calling overt “blackface.”
4/20, and you choose Bob Marley to be some sort of filter.— ?|? (@_Speda_) April 20, 2016
What pathetic mess is this?
The mans a legend, and you remember him for weed
While the filter was created in partnership with the late Bob Marley’s estate and was intended to celebrate the musician’s contributions to pop and reggae, scores of people are calling the move culturally tone-deaf, racially insensitive and offensive.
Many point to the grievous error as being symptomatic of a wider problem that presents itself in tech and startup culture as the industry has always been composed largely of white males.