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Snapchat Invents Digital Blackface—and It’s Just as Bad as You Imagine

What better way to celebrate 4/20 than a filter that turns you into Bob Marley?

Yep. Someone thought, "You know, this should be a thing." 


Ahh, 4/20. The perfect excuse to get high on Hippie Hill, check out the Oakland Museum’s new exhibit, or partake in any of these ridiculous cannabis-related activities. Or, you know, put on blackface and make like Bob Marley. 

In what can only be considered a dubious marketing tactic, today Snapchat opted to include a Marley-inspired filter in honor of the high holiday, as Wired reports. It features Marley’s signature Rastafarian crocheted cap, long dreads, and of course, his dark skin tone. It’s the latter effect which is a tad problematic, turning this filter into the very thing you never wanted: your own personalized version of blackface that conveniently fits into your back pocket. Thanks, Snapchat—but we’ll pass.

Snapchat hasn’t responded to an email from San Francisco asking whether they intend to take the filter down, but said in an official statement that the filter was launched with the hope that it would “[give] people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music.” Of course, there are other ways to achieve this. You could make a bust of Marley’s head, for example, or play this “reggae adventure” video game. Or, if you really want to imitate the guy, why not just get high with this brand of Marley-themed weed

Despite this poorly executed embrace of 4/20, no one’s letting it harsh their mellow. Revelers citywide will descend upon Golden Gate Park this afternoon, and the city is standing at the ready. After all, it’s what Bob would have wanted. 


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