Snapchat's 4/20 Bob Marley Filter Prompts "Blackface" Backlash

Courtesy of Snapchat Account of Kylie Jenner

The filter digitally alters a Snapchatter's face to look like the reggae legend.

Some Snapchat users are calling out the messaging app for taking its 4/20 festivities a little too far. 

The Venice-based app released an update on Wednesday that allows users to digitally alter their faces to look like reggae legend Bob Marley. The so-called "lens" — which was released in celebration of the pot-smoking holiday — gives a person dreadlocks, Marley's signature crochet cap and his features, including his dark skin. 

This prompted many users to express outrage on social media, calling the filter a form of "blackface." 

Snapchat has not turned off the filter, instead issuing the following statement: "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." 

High-profile and frequent Snapchatter Kylie Jenner is among the people who have used the lens, posting a video of herself as Bob Marley to her public Stories feed from her Snapchat account, maG.

Representatives for the Bob Marley estate and Jenner did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Snapchat offers a number of lenses that change the look of a user's face. Some add makeup, turn a person into a tomato, give them dog ears or distort the face. Its face swap filter, which exchanges the faces of two people in a photo, has become especially popular among Snapchatters. 

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