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Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter slammed as 'blackface' and 'racist'


kylie jenner
Screencaps from a video posted to Snapchat by Kylie Jenner using the filter

Snapchat is under fire for featuring a Bob Marley filter that some users are describing as “racist”.

In honour of April 20 (4/20) – a day dedicated to celebrating marijuana – Snapchat added a filter that is meant to make users look like reggae musician Bob Marley.

When activated, the filters superimposes dreadlocks and a slouch cap onto users, as well as their darkening skin colour and changing the shape of the eyes and nose.

bob marleyThe Snapchat filter in question

But many have decried the filter as a digital “blackface”, dubbing it “racist”.

In a statement to CNN Money, Snapchat said that the lens was built “in partnership with the Bob Marley Estate”.

Snapchat continued: “Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley’s music, and we respect his life and achievements”, adding that the lens “gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music”.

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actual bob marleyMusician Bob Marley

Bob Marley was an acclaimed reggae artist born in Jamaican. He is remembered as one of the world's greatest musicians, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Marley considered cannabis as a healing herb, and has consequently become a figurehead in pro-marijuana circles, and remains so even after his death in 1981.

Despite the criticisms, Snapchat has not removed the filter, and has not announced any plans to do so.

Do you think Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter is inappropriate? Let us know in the comments.


April 20, 2016, 9:01 pm

And if Snapchat did the same with a white face would the same people be up in arms? If not then they're the racists.

We're a long way from the Black and White Minstrel Show. Skin colour really should be a non-issue by now but as long as people use it as a stick to beat others with there'll never be true equality.


April 20, 2016, 9:47 pm

can this man have more upvotes, please?


April 21, 2016, 7:01 pm

Plus one for you.


April 21, 2016, 8:25 pm

Why of course my good sir. And one for you too!

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