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Snapchat accused of 'blackface' with Bob Marley filter

CRITICISED: Users test out the Bob Marley on Snapchat today

SNAPCHAT HAS come under fire for introducing what is being described as a digital equivalent of blackface in the form of a Bob Marley filter.

The digitised feature allows users of the social media app to adopt the likeness of the reggae legend - complete with a rasta hat and dreadlocks.

Its launch coincides with 4/20, a day dedicated to the celebration of cannabis culture, but has raised eyebrows over how the musician's legacy is being used.

@tonimacncheese wrote on Twitter: “Bob Marley was a pro-black messenger, voice for the poor & disadvantaged, a prolific political figure and @Snapchat reduced him to a stoner.”

Aaisha Dadi Patel, a writer for South Africa’s Daily Vox has criticised the filter describing it as a form of “blackface".

She told the Guardian: “The filter is a form of blackface, cultural appropriation, and totally problematic… This is a caricature of a black person.”

LEGACY: Bob Marley

Celebrity Snapchat users including Kylie Jenner boldly used the filter to post snaps on their accounts.

A spokesperson for Snapchat defended the filter ensuring critics that it was created in partnership with Marley’s estate, and is meant to honour the late singer.

They told BuzzFeed News: “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.”

The filter is not the first time the Marley family has embraced a connection between marijuana and Marley's legacy.

According to The Fader, back in February, a line of four types of Cannabis was launched under the Marley Natural name.

The line was created with funding from a private equity firm, who secured a licensing deal with the Marley family.

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