Being an Internet sensation isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Just ask Rebecca Black.
These days, Black is a relatively popular YouTuber—her channel has 1.46 million followers—but for a while in 2011, she was some hitherto-unknown combination of pop star and punch line. On February 10, 2011, Black's debut single, "Friday", made its debut online. A month or so later, after posts from Tosh.0 and comedian Michael J. Nelson drew attention to it, the video went viral—for all the wrong reasons.
Let's face it: the song, written by producer Patrice Wilson, isn't exactly good, per se. The lyrics could have been written by a six-year-old, the video is laughably inept, and as for Black? Well, let's just say her singing has improved a lot since then. But more about that later.
The video went viral, as such things do, with some describing "Friday" as the worst song ever. (Ironically, the song was also massively popular, charting in multiple countries and hitting the number-one spot on Billboard's Heatseekers chart; it was also covered by artists ranging from Katy Perry to Roger McGuinn.) Black, who was 13 at the time, became a target for harassment and mockery, both online and in the real world. In a tweet yesterday, she took the anniversary of the video's release as an opportunity to reflect on her emotional journey since then, addressing herself at different ages.
9 years ago today a music video for a song called ‘Friday’ was uploaded to the internet. Above all things, I just wish I could go back and talk to my 13 year old self who was terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world. To my 15 year old self who felt like she had no one to talk to about the depression she faced. To my 17 year old self who would go to school only to get food thrown at her and her friends. To my 19 year old self who had almost every producer/songwriter tell me they’d never work with me. Hell, to myself a few days ago who felt disgusting when she looked in the mirror! I’m trying to remind myself more and more that every day is a new opportunity to shift your reality and lift your spirit. You are not defined by any one choice or thing. Time heals and nothing is finite. It’s a process that’s never too late to begin. And so, here we go! This might be a weird thing to post but the honesty feels good if nothing else.
None of Black's subsequent releases have had quite the impact that "Friday" had. Which is actually a shame, because—believe it or not—she's actually a pretty good singer. And the calibre of her collaborators has certainly improved as well. Check out "Satellite", a song she wrote with Finneas O'Connell, who recently picked up an armload of Grammys for his work with his sister, Billie Eilish:
As for Patrice Wilson, he managed to outdo himself, following "Friday" up with what is unquestionably the actual worst song ever: