Celebrating 4/20, Snapchat added a Bob Marley filter. "Blackface" outrage ensued

Snapchat introduced a Bob Marley filter to acknowledge 4/20, also known as "Weed Day", the reggae icon famously loved the drug. The lens donned a crochet reggae cap, long dreadlocks, Bob Marley's lips, nose & eyes and would darken the skin of anyone who tried the filter. Uh-oh, did I just say darkened skin?

But hey, be cool, Snapchat actually worked with Bob Marley's estate to create this filter. Which means Bob Marley's estate got some money for Bod Marley's likeness here.
Snapchat said in a statement:

"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."

And yes, as soon as celebrities like Kylie Jenner (seen above) tried on the filter, everyone had a go with it. Kylie shared her pearls of wisdom: "420. Yaaas, bitch. Yaaas."

And everyone else said "No no no, nope!" because as far as they're concerned that Bob Marley filter is blackface. I'm fascinated that this company somehow has offices all over Venice Beach California, pricing the homeless shelters and locals out, while creating Bob Marley "blackface" filters. You know the outrage army on twitter simply will not have that! I'd quote the angry tweeters, but really, I'm too busy taking selfies of my own face on snapchat right now, and you can guess what they're saying anyway.

Esquire: "Please Don't Use Snapchat's Bob Marley Blackface Filter for 4/20
Resist the urge to be That Guy.​"

Comments (2)

  • Tom Megginson's picture
    Tom Megginson (not verified)

    I'm not outraged, I'm just shaking my head. This is too broad-appeal (if generationally-focussed) of a brand to not know this will go over poorly. And the Marley estate is a money-making machine.

    Ironically, in Jamaica 1950s Bob was bullied as a youth for being half-white.

    Apr 21, 2016

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.