Visual messaging app Snapchat has come under heavy fire for its newly released Bob Marley filter.
The filter lets users take a selfie in Snapchat and then alters the image making it looks like Bob Marley. It also adds dreadlocks like Marley’s, a colorful hat and brown skin on the user’s image.
According to critics, the filter is the digital version of ‘blackface’ and is highly racist and disrespectful.
Blackface dates back to the 19th century when black performers weren’t allowed to perform in front of white audiences. White actors would then use cork or paint to portray black characters. The white performers would then ridicule African-Americans.
The practice was highly racist and shows such as Jim Crow further propagated racist stereotypes.
According to Snapchat, the Bob Marley filter is trying to honor the late musician. In a statement released by the company, it said that the filter had been released with the blessing of Marley’s family.
“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,” the statement said.
Immediately after its release, angry fans took to social media to outpour their anger.
“Yes, that @Snapchat filter of Bob Marley is racist. I’m judging y’all. Hard,” user @jsphflrs tweeted.
“This Bob Marley snap filter is disrespectful to his legacy.@Snapchat,” a Twitterati by the name of OXTAIL GAWD posted.
“I’m disgusted by what I’ve seen from @Snapchat today, honestly, cannot believe this,” user @qmvia posted.
“So… there’s a Bob Marley @Snapchat filter. Blackface is now OK, apparently?,” Brenda Wong posted.
Kylie Jenner also tried out the new filter. Her picture instantly got around 1,279 likes.
Snapchat’s new filter came on a day when the entire world was officially celebrating ‘Weed Day’. April 20 is the day when pot lovers celebrate marijuana and Marley used it as part of his Rastafarian religion.
Spotify too honored Marley with a playlist.
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay