Illustration of Rebecca Black
Rebecca Black has changed a lot since her viral sensation, "Friday." (Illustration by Sarah Yu, Duke University)

‘It’s Friday’ Girl, Rebecca Black, Is More Than Just Her Teenage Failure

Many of us remember the viral sensation. What most don’t know are the consequences of this teenager’s overnight infamy.

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Illustration of Rebecca Black

Many of us remember the viral sensation. What most don’t know are the consequences of this teenager’s overnight infamy.

Let’s throw it back to March 14 of 2011 when Rebecca Black broke the internet with her music video “Friday.” Let the memories flood back to when this song was every teenager’s joke anthem.

Recently, Rebecca Black posted on Instagram, divulging how her mental health plummeted at age 13 when she released “Friday.” As a birthday gift, Black’s parents dropped a few thousand dollars for their daughter to produce her music video with Ark Music Factory for a chance to feel like a real pop sensation. This horribly auto-tuned video was the beginning of Black’s struggles, but it also ignited a fire that led to her becoming the musician and influencer she is today.

After the release of “Friday,” Black took a hit from teenagers, record labels and talk shows. Her fame attracted the wrong kind of attention and for that, she faced bullying every day after. Black attended private school, but soon began failing classes. Unable to endure all the bullying, she left her private school to be homeschooled — but that didn’t mean she escaped the torment. It’s obvious that as a 13-year-old with access to Twitter and the internet, Black couldn’t resist the temptation to see what comments were being written about her, and all of them were brutal.

The channel that published “Friday” offered to take down the video, but despite the backlash, Black decided against it, not wanting people to know she felt embarrassed. As mentioned earlier, teenagers were not the only ones taking shots at Black. Shows like “Tosh.0” and “The Soup” targeted the young singer as well. However, Black made appearances on “Good Morning America” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in an attempt to prove to everyone she could roll with the punches and laugh off the haters — a demonstration of the strength and maturity that cannot be done by so many. Record labels also tried signing Black to use her public failure and instant fame for money, which Black is most thankful she never committed to.

When Black turned 18, she moved from Anaheim to Hollywood in search of a fresh start. Part of her process included getting a tattoo of three dots on her middle fingers because Black believes in threes. Black’s move to Hollywood allowed her to feel free and prosper, which she managed to do successfully. Black is now a part of a team that both supports and believes in her.

She told Insider that building her confidence since the “Friday” fail “has been an ongoing process of me really trying to be patient with myself and them being really patient with me as I figure out how the hell to go from being this girl that people really didn’t like and got this really weird start to like a person who believes in herself and can work with other people and confidently walk into things …”

 

This newfound team encourages Black to write her own tracks, and her first real song — one that holds a lot of meaning to her about the complexities of love — ironically will be released June 21 when she’ll be turning 22, on a Friday. Black has released music without a label for years — “Anyway,” “Heart Full of Scars,” “Foolish” and “My Moment”  — and this summer she’ll be awarded an opportunity she’s worked for tirelessly.

For those of you who don’t know, Black competed on the Four, Fox’s music competition. Although she didn’t win, she felt she validated herself as someone that can sing purely on her own without auto tune. It’s unfortunate that since she was 13, Black has felt she’s had to prove herself as both a musician and influencer, but it has led her to grow tremendously.

Before, Black spent hours in her room scrolling through Tumblr and now, she manages her influencer platform posting ads for companies and in the near future, will break into acting with a few projects already in the works. In September of 2019, Black also celebrated her first cover for Inxcss Magazine.

 

Many that grew up listening to “Friday” likely trolled Black. This post made on Instagram about her mental health and the weight she’s carried for years said that she hopes “people might read her message and reconsider what they might say to the next kid who finds themselves plastered all over the internet.” It’s unfortunate that for the last nine years, Black’s biggest motivation to thrive has been to prove she can make a comeback and break away from her viral video failure. At just 13, all of America dragged her because she released a music video living her dream to feel like a pop star.

Although trolling and cancel culture can never really be eliminated, Rebecca Black put America in check and has proven herself since the first day she returned and stepped out into the limelight after “Friday.” People everywhere can relate to the mental health issues that sometimes burden us, but Black never allowed herself to falter. Her message resonated with her followers, and sometimes it only takes one person, like Black, to remind us simply to be kind.

If you want to see Rebecca Black live, she goes on tour with indie rock band “Man Man” in July and yes, she will perform “Friday,” but with a more Lana del Ray kind of vibe. However, Black closes with all new music.

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