This Week in Black Twitter: Prince's death saddens fans, Tubman's legacy continues

Welcome back to This Week in Black Twitter, your weekly digest of the happenings on Black Twitter and cultural conversations on the Web. Topics will span the gamut — with pop culture, politics, sports, lifestyles and everything in between. This week: Legendary singer Prince's death saddens fans, Harriet Tubman's legacy continues on the $20 bill and Snapchat's Bob Marley filter criticized for blackface.

1. First with the death of David Bowie and now Prince, 2016 has been filled with loss for pop music fans.

Iconic artist Prince was found dead Thursday at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota, TMZ reported. Details of the singer's death and possible cause have not been released.

Once news spread, fans immediately took to Twitter to express love and admiration for the legendary "Purple Rain" singer.


No one wanted to believe it. People are probably still hoping this was all a cruel joke.

We've lost so many GOATs (Greatest Of All Time) already.


"Like books and black lives, albums still matter," Prince said at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Prince was well known for his activism, often advocating for social justice within his songs. He performed a benefit concert in Baltimore last year after Freddie Gray's death and the unrest that followed.

RIP to the King (or Prince) of Shade

2. Harriet Tubman, the leader of the Underground Railroad, will be the first African-American to be pictured on U.S. currency.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced Wednesday that Tubman would replace founding father Alexander Hamilton on the $20 bill by 2020. To which Black Twitter replied: "It's all about the Tubmans, baby."

However, some weren't as excited or emotional about the change.

And then people found out that Tubman will have to share the bill, with Hamilton depicted on the reverse side.

After the announcement, "Who is Harriet Tubman" was the top searched question on Google, which makes me wonder: What do they even teach in history classes nowadays?

3. Snapchat released a new filter Wednesday on 4/20, a day that has come to be known as an unofficial holiday for marijuana smokers.

The filter changes your face into reggae artist Bob Marley's by adding dreadlocks and a Rastafarian hat to your head, darkening your skin tone, and altering your lips and nose. It also plays snippets of the artist's greatest hits, such as "No Woman No Cry" and "Three Little Birds."

In an emailed statement to Reuters, Snapchat wrote: "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."

For the Guardian's Michael Arceneaux, Snapchat's decision was concerning, even if it got permission from the Marley estate.

"The darkening of skin was not necessary. And for no one in that company  at least those with decision-making power  to understand why it would be an issue to invoke an inglorious history of minstrelsy speaks, yet again, to the ongoing problem with diversity in the tech industry," he wrote.

Reactions on Twitter seemed to be mixed. While some were offended by the filter and called it blackface, others weren't so sure.


Beyond the issues of blackface and appropriation, users argued that Marley shouldn't have been reduced to a 4/20 mascot.

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