Interesting choice, Snapchat! It seems that the disposable photo-sharing app that's become more about its goofy filters and animation overlays than anything else launched a special filter today in honor of the weed holiday, 4/20, and the cannabis-endorsing legacy of Bob Marley. The company tells Wired that they partnered with the Bob Marley Estate on this, and even though the filter just gives everyone a quick and offensive blackface makeover complete with dreadlocks, they see this as a new way to show "respect" for Marley and his music. Nice try!
Their PR team, meanwhile, does their best to explain:
“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.”
Someone really needs to sit the design team down over there and school them on the fundamentals of cultural appropriation, the history of blackface on the American stage, and why this was just the dumbest idea ever and did someone at the Marley Estate seriously sign off on this, or did they just not even get what Snapchat was in the first place?
The Guardian was quick to pick up on the reaction on Twitter, which can be summed up as "WTF, Snapchat?!" And young, ignorant users with tons of followers like Kylie Jenner have been quick to use the filter, and then just as quick to delete their posts when the tweet-pitchforks came for them.
Here, a selection of examples and reactions:
hoooooooly shit @Snapchat what the fuck were you thinking with the Bob Marley blackface filter?— Rosie (@rsiereilly) April 20, 2016
That Bob Marley filter.... pic.twitter.com/BDx9xp6E0A— Andrea Masenda (@andreamas05) April 20, 2016