In honor of today’s holiday (if you don’t know, ask a teen), Snapchat rolled out a “Bob Marley-inspired” selfie filter — one that gives you dreadlocks, a Rasta beanie, and, uh, a charming tint that darkens your skin, ostensibly to make you look more like the late reggae legend.
Or you know, you could just call it digital blackface. As many people on Twitter have (not that it’s stopped them from using it, of course):
Snapchat says it created the filter “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 Marley estate, House of Marley, is co-administered by Marley’s family and an American licensing company called Authentic Brands Group.)
It’s great to celebrate Marley, a legendary musician and icon for peace and justice. But maybe there were better days to do it on?
Meanwhile, Facebook’s MSQRD app has a “Rasta” and an “Obama” filter. Neither have received much attention yet, meaning either no one is using MSQRD, or that no one who uses MSQRD thinks that hard about what it means to superimpose black faces over faces of people of other races.