Tags: bob marley | snapchat | filter | digital blackface

Bob Marley Snapchat Filter Called Out as 'Digital Blackface'

Image: Bob Marley Snapchat Filter Called Out as 'Digital Blackface'
 (Snapchat)

By    |   Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 09:11 AM

Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter, released in time for the unofficial marijuana holiday 4/20, has been called out as “digital blackface.”

The mobile phone app allows Snapchat users to apply filters to photos to give them special effects, in this case giving the subject dreadlocks and black skin. Some are calling that racially insensitive.

“Hoo boy. It’s bad. It’s very bad,” Wired magazine commented. “There’s not much more to say, other than maybe to point out that in addition to the inappropriate and very tone-deaf racial mapping it also reduces Marley’s legacy to a pot joke.”

Snapchat has defended the filter, releasing a statement saying: “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 Los Angeles Times compared the controversy to racist costumes and cries of cultural appropriation often sparked at Halloween.

“Marley was a lot of things: a father, a deeply religious man, a pretty good soccer player, and one of the most influential artists of all time. His songs were about the legacy of slavery, about colonization, about oppression and about hope,” Dexter Thomas said in the Times, expressing regret that Marley’s estate would contribute to the “cartoonish caricature of a Jamaican pot-smoker.”

The Washington Post noted that face swapping filters like Face Swap Live, MSQRD, Face Swap Booth, and Face Stealer, have gained popularity in recent months and include similar capabilities.

“The moral of the story here may be that people do not equate cross-racial face-swapping with racism or blackface, necessarily, but that they do have problems with the technique being used reductively,” Caitlin Dewey said in the Post.

Twitter users had mixed reactions.


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Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter, released in time for the unofficial marijuana holiday 4/20, has been called out as “digital blackface.”
bob marley, snapchat, filter, digital blackface
498
2016-11-21
Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 09:11 AM
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