4/20, April 20th, is the unofficial official celebration of marijuana. Everyone smokes weed and gets high, people have parties and celebrations, it is a real holiday for many. On this day the very hip very current Snapchat app, which allows users to post photos and videos that expire after 24 hours with cool filters and graphics, added a Bob Marley filter. The filter is apart their newest filters which use face scanning technology to distort one's face or make it look as if they are wearing something(a cool headdress, make-up, etc.) while using the front facing camera. The Bob Marley filter makes user's faces look like Bob Marley's complete with brown skin and long locks.
Unfortunately, the musical legend known for making Reggae music a global phenomenon with island beats and lyrics that encouraged peace, love, and social justice, is often only recognized for his use of Marijuana these days. Bob Marley os also known for popularizing the Rastafari culture which was thriving in Jamaica around the height of his success. Rastafarian people take part in smoking marijuana, or ganja, or weed, as part of their spirituality. Marley's image has been used and exploited in Marijuana materials all over the U.S., and I see it as inappropriate. Especially when those taking part do not know much of reggae music or the impact Bob Marley made on the world, only that he is somebody who used to get high. This snapchat filter is shameful, disrespectful, extremely distasteful, and racially as well as culturally offensive. It's a damn shame.
To learn more about Bob Marley and the origin of The Rastafari movement I strongly suggest watching the Documentary "Marley". Watch the trailer here: