Snapchat is Celebrating 420 With This Embarrassing Bob Marley ‘Blackface’ Lens

The company is standing firmly behind the controversial lens.

Image via Twitter @NoiseyMusic

In honor of the unofficial stoner holiday 420, Snapchat unveiled a new lens that overlays a Bob Marley themed face onto the face of a user, transforming them into a digital version of the legendary musician. However, news of the lens is trending for all the wrong reasons, because many people have accused the lens of being little more than digital blackface.

The Marley lens adds a few seemingly innocuous layers, such as his signature hat and facial hair. But it goes a step further by altering the facial structure of users and “darkening” their skin tone to more closely match that of Marley’s visage. And that doesn’t even get into whether the addition of digital dreadlocks is, at best, a lame form of cultural appropriation or, at worst, reducing Marley’s legacy to what Wired called, “a pot joke.”

Image via Twitter @engadget

You’d think this would be the kind of public relations disaster that would result in Snapchat immediately pulling the lens from their app. However, the company is standing firmly behind the controversial lens, saying they worked directly with the Marley estate on the project:

“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.”

So, what do you think? Is the Marley lens offensive or is it just a harmless social media gimmick that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, particularly since Marley’s own estate reportedly signed off on it?

Image via Twitter @cnn

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