If you were a teenager in the last 10 years or just happened to be an avid YouTube visitor, you might have remembered Rebecca Black’s single, “Friday,” a music video that came out in March 2011 and became viral – for all the wrong reasons.
Dubbed one of the worst music videos of all time, “Friday” was panned by critics and the public. Black herself was the subject of a lot of memes, parodies, and even extreme responses that was a bit overboard. It’s been 8 years since that video was released, but the criticism hasn’t stopped Black from doing what she loves. While she hasn’t reached the same amount of viral exposure as before, that hasn’t stopped her from pursuing a career in music, based on everything she did after 2011.
Who Is Rebecca Black?
Rebecca Renee Black is an American YouTuber and singer. Born and raised in California, she is the daughter of two veterinarians and has Mexican, English, Italian, and Polish ancestry. Prior to her fame from the “Friday” music video, she attended a private school from kindergarten until the sixth grade until she moved to a public school due to bullying.
From an early age, Black had been interested in a music career. When she joined one of her school’s musical theater program, she said that she felt that was where she was meant to be. And so she, along with her supportive parents, decided to find ways to help her pursue her career.
What Is “Friday?”
“Friday” is the song and music video Black starred in. In 2010, Black learned from a classmate that Ark Music Factory, a musical production company in Los Angeles, could give Black a chance to record her own song and music video. Her mother, Georgina Kelly, agreed to pay $4,000 to Ark Music, half of which paid for the production costs of the video. Ark Music could have produced the song and music video for free, but Black and her family would have had to give up all her rights to the song and music video.
Before production, Black was given the option of two pre-written songs. Black chose “Friday” because the other song was about “adult love,” and Black was 13 at the time and felt she had yet to experience what the other song was about. “Friday,” on the other hand, reflected her personality well, though her mother felt that the song’s lyrics weren’t up to quality.
“Friday” was co-written by Ark Music co-founder Patrice Wilson. While writing the lyrics, he was inspired to write about Friday when he realized, after writing songs for many nights, that he had been writing all the way to Friday night. Wilson would have an uncredited feature in the music video, singing a verse from the bridge.
The video was uploaded and received instant viral attention. It became an internet meme and was trending on Twitter. The video received massive negative criticism hurled at the music video, Black’s singing (her voice was heavily corrected using Auto-Tune), and Ark Music for having produced the music video in the first place.
As of writing, “Friday” is the seventh most disliked video on YouTube. Everything about the video – from the singing to the choreography – was negatively viewed. While it was a catchy song, it’s overly simple lyrics and “hilariously dreadful” video was panned by critics and singers in the music interview.
What Came After “Friday”?
A lot of criticism was aimed at Black herself, some of which were violent death threats that got the local police involved. She was also bullied in school, which led her to drop out and take on homeschooling instead, citing both the bullying and taunting as well as the need for her to focus on starting her career.
In 2011, her video surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” music video for the most number of dislikes from YouTube. For a while, Ark charged YouTube viewers $2.99 to watch the video, something Black claims she never agreed to. It was later removed due to a legal dispute regarding the copyright claims between Ark Music and Black’s family. It was re-uploaded three months later on Black’s official YouTube channel.
In that same year, Black was nominated for the Favorite Animated GIF Award in the MTV O Music Awards and won the Choice Web Star Award in the 2011 Teen Choice Awards. She would go on to record two more songs that year: “My Moment,” which addressed all the haters and people who criticized “Friday,” and “Person of Interest.” Both songs were under her own independent label, RB Records, after having experienced the ownership disputes between herself and Ark Music. Both received negative reviews, though some reviewers found that both were an improvement from “Friday.”
She hosted MTV’s first online awards show, the O Music Awards Fan Army Party. She makes a cameo in Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” as a hostess of a teenage party.
What Is Rebecca Black Doing Today?
She went on to produce more songs: “Sing It” and “In Your Words” in 2012; “Saturday” in 2013; “The Great Divide” in 2016; “Foolish,” “Heart Full of Scars,” and “Scream” in 2017; “Satellite” in 2018; and “Anyway” in 2019.
The songs “The Great Divide,” “Foolish,” “Heart Full of Scars,” and “Satellite were included in Black’s album, RE/BL, released in 2018. Since 2011, she had also been performing covers of other songs and uploading them on YouTube, where she also talks about other topics. She is very vocal about cyberbullying, which she had spent years trying to overcome after the hate she received due to “Friday.” She is currently signed with Maker Studios, which later on became known as the Disney Digital Network.
In 2018, Black appeared as a contestant in Fox’s second season of The Four: Battle for Stardom. She received unanimous praise from the judges and was allowed to compete in the next round. However, she lost to her opponent and was eliminated from the show.
Aside from her original music and covers, her YouTube channel is also her platform for talking about music, fashion, style, and other personal matters.
Despite all the negative criticism she received, Rebecca Black’s enduring music career proves that if you want something, you should never give up. Black’s rocky start in the music industry has clearly unfazed her as she continues to sing her heart out until she finally gets her big break.