Snapchat Called Out For ‘Digital Blackface’ Of Bob Marley On 4/20 Day

Snapchat Called Out For ‘Digital Blackface’ Of Bob Marley On 4/20 Day

To celebrate National Weed Day (April 20th) Snapchat launched a Bob Marley filter which superimpose the skin colour and facial features of the Jamaican artist on the Snapchat users-with added Rastafarian hat and dreadlocks. The filter has been accused of blackface, as well reducing the Jamaican artist to just a guy who smoked weed.

National Weed Day is celebrated on April 20th (or 4/20) which is the biggest single-day celebration of marijuana. Vox has tried to explain why it’s held on April 20th, because there are several theories.

Snapchat jumped on the bandwagon by launching a Marley filter which has been accused of blackface- which recalls a practice in the early 19th century where people performed racist caricatures of black people using greasepaint.

People are angry about the Snapchat filter not just because it’s racist — they’re also accusing Snapchat of reducing Marley to simply a weed icon, when in reality he was much more.


In an email to Fortune, Snapchat defended the decision saying: “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.”

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