In an effort to celebrate 420, also known as the marijuana smoker’s holiday, social media platform Snapchat created an exclusive Bob Marley filter that imposes dreadlocks and a digital face on a photo that is supposed to look like the late reggae legend’s.
But after the filter was released, many users lashed out online, accusing the social media site of using blackface.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Snapchat explained that the filter was developed in partnership with Marley’s estate and that it was intended to let fans express their “appreciation” for the iconic musician.
“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,” the company told the Post. “Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley’s music, and we respect his life and achievements.”
The paper also notes that the Marley app is not unique. “The incredible thing isn’t that such a filter exists — virtually every face-swap app has one,” the paper reports. “It’s that users are suddenly, unprecedentedly, concerned about its racial implications.”
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