Snapchat’s 4/20 Filter Is… Blackface


Snapchat—which has made inroads as a go-to form of communication not only among middle-schoolers and Damn Daniel fans, but also among many adults I know—seems to have wanted to celebrate April 20, i.e. 4/20, in a non-standard, creative fashion that befits the app’s culture.

So, while it would have been really easy to create, say, a big blunt that anyone could add to their snaps, the app went wildly much farther, and misguidedly afield than that.

“Bob Marley is kinda like the icon of pot smoking in our culture,” their internal, wrong-headed dialog must have started, “so let’s think bigger than pot, way outside the box, and celebrate 4/20 by making a filter that looks straight up like Bob Marley!”

Yeah, sure, Bob Marley is cool… only, how do you make a Bob Marley filter?

“Bob Marley was black,” that conversation obviously continued, “so our 4/20 filter will be… black face.”

From time to time—and even often—people have really bad ideas. Even professionals with wildly successful apps have them, too, apparently. We’re human! We’re so fallible and short-sighted and often horrifically wrong about so many things. It happens all the time. And yet this filter is so incredibly short-sighted that you almost have to wonder whether or not the person who coded this 4/20 filter or gave the OK to it actually had real racist tendencies. Or, you know, maybe you don’t even need to wonder that hard, because, again: blackface.

Much of the Internet seems to agree, raising red flags—unfortunately—by using the filter and posting their images. Business Insider has shown us a lot of them. Maybe look once, but also maybe don’t use the filter yourself.  

We, on the other hand, have a wonderful way for you to go and celebrate 4/20. It’s so much fun: Get off the Internet, and smoke a J. Everyone wins. All are welcome. That, surely, is something Bob Marley would be very much on board with.


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