Bob Marley Snapchat Filter Causes Viral Outrage

21 Apr

Source: Jamaica Observer

As part of April 20 (4/20) celebrations internationally Snapchat has rolled out a Bob Marley filter, and the Internet’s kind of mad about it.

4/20 or 4:20, celebrated yesterday, is also called Weed Day or Pot Day and as the name suggests it’s all about marijuana. It’s not a recognized holiday but with more dialogue surrounding legalizing marijuana in more places in the world, it has become something of a popular culture phenomenon in its own right.

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Yesterday, Snapchat users were treated to a new filter that would give them dreadlocks, a tam and darken their skin to make them look like the late Reggae legend Bob Marley. The filter plays strains of arguably his most popular song and even has his name on it.

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While some users have enjoyed playing around with the filter – thinking of it as harmless fun – others have called it racist or have otherwise denounced it. Some have called it equivalent to black-face, however, the filter doesn’t do anything that ‘face swap’ (another Snapchat filter) doesn’t allow people to do.

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The real issue, if any, is that Bob Marley’s legacy is being reduced to little more than a common cannabis connoisseur. While he has for years been one of the biggest cultural icons in the world to be associated with weed and our country has suffered or enjoyed (to each his own) the same fate internationally, it has stung Bob Marley fans a little.

They have asked where was the Bob Marley filter on his birthday? Or during Reggae month? Could it only have been conceptualized to commemorate a ‘holiday’ about a highly controversial drug?

Bob Marley, being interviewed after the show at the Fox Theater (Photo by Tom Hill/WireImage)

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