What better way to celebrate the weed enthusiasts' Christmas than with a cool Snapchat filter they can jokily send to friends in between tokes? Of the many, many inoffensive marijuana-oriented effects one could use (smoke! pot leaves! baja hoodies! hackey sacks!), Snapchat apparently landed on this gem: Just turn users into Bob Marley in a disturbing use of digital blackface. At this point, there's really no excuse for anyone--even
dumb college students--to be unaware that blackface is an offensive and loaded practice tied to a long, ugly history. It's alarming that a major tech company had no one on their team look at this and say, "HEY! This is going to go over SO BADLY." Which, naturally, it did:
Bob Marley snapchat filter almost as disrespectful as acoustic guitar covers of one love
— Desus Nice (@desusnice)
April 20, 2016
.@Snapchat You can retain my services to help you avoid stuff like this. My rates are mad reasonable. — Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) April 20, 2016
Also, someday, I hope to see the detachment of Bob Marley's musical legacy from "white stoner bro" culture. — Jane Coaston (@cjane87) April 20, 2016
In a statement to BBC's Newsbeat blog, Snapchat said that the filter was created in conjunction with Bob Marley's estate (which is also perplexing--how did anyone think this was a good plan?). "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," They said. "Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley's music, and we respect his life and achievements."