Have you seen 14-year old Rebecca Black’s music video “Friday”? If you haven’t, you need to follow this link to understand what I am blogging about today.
Rebecca started this past school year in Orange County, California, like any other 13-year old, but all of that changed in March. That was when she starred in her first music video, “Friday,” with the financial backing of her mother who paid $4,000 to have music producers write the song and make the video, which was then posted on YouTube. Her mother claims it was the best $4,000 she had ever spent because over time, it has hit 167 million views.
Not all of the attention she has received as a result of her music video has been supportive, however. While “Friday” launched Rebecca’s career, it also launched huge debate over whether it was the worst song ever written. Some of the worst comments include: “Her song ‘Friday’ is one of the worst songs I have ever heard in my entire life, even deaf people are complaining,” “my ears are bleeding,” and “her voice sucks.”
I must admit that the lyrics are repetitive and, at some parts, quite cheesy, but she didn’t write the song, and it was her first experience in the music industry. Is there no room for kindness here?
Parodies of her musical video hit the internet. Celebrities even got in on the act. Taylor Hicks, a former American Idol winner, and Conan O’Brien joined in the mocking on television.
But, as the ABC reporter interviewed Rebecca about the harsh criticism she has received, she sits calmly with a smile on her face and finally says, “They can say things like that just to get to me.”
And ever since her video aired on YouTube, Rebecca admits that she has faced a multitude of bullying, with kids at school mocking her song by singing it with a nasally voice, or saying things like: “Oh hey, Rebecca, guess what day it is?”
Then there’s the cyberbullying, where she reads messages such as: “You’re so fat,” “You’ll never be pretty,” “You suck at singing,” “I hope you go die,” and “I think you should get an eating disorder because that will make you prettier.” (I can only chalk this up to jealousy, as she is a beautiful girl, or just plain stupidity!)
The teasing became so relentless, that Rebecca and her mother decided to withdraw Rebecca from her school, and her mother has become her teacher, too. When her mother was asked by ABC News why she pulled her daughter from school, she explained, “It’s hard to go to school when you are so famous and to have kids constantly making fun of what’s going on.”
Rebecca may have escaped the bullying at school, but she remains a target online. In fact, CNN’s I-Report website briefly carried a fabricated story that she was pregnant at the age of 13. Rebecca responded, “Waking up to a rumor that you’re pregnant is not fun! It’s just frustrating because I, I mean, I’m still excited over my first kiss!”
Most alarming of all is the fact that Rebecca has even received death threats! The FBI is currently involved in investigating some of these threats.
ABC’s reporter acknowledged that Rebecca seems very grown up about the whole situation. Rebecca responded, “I’ve had a lot of experience with not being liked. I think if I hadn’t had to deal with that in the past, then I totally would have handled this differently, and I would have gone done in burning flames. But I’ve learned that you just can’t let it get to you!”
While Rebecca has been harshly criticized, she also has some staunch supporters. Simon Cowell, for one, who told People Magazine that he “loves her and the fact that she’s gotten so much publicity.” He went on to say, “People are so upset about the song, but I think it’s hysterical.”
Katy Perry invited Rebecca to star in her own music video for “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and she joined Perry onstage last week on her Los Angeles tour stop, where the two joined in a duet to Rebecca’s “Friday.”
And Lady Gaga defended her saying, “I say Rebecca Black is a genius, and anyone that’s telling her she’s cheesy is full of %#*&!”
She also won a Teen Choice Award and has made enough money with her music to put herself through college. She is using what she earned from her first musical video to finance her second. Appropriately called “My Moment,” this song is a perfect rebuttal to those who have teased, taunted, and maligned this very mature, sweet, young lady.
Rebecca explained what made this song so personal to her, “The first line is, ‘Weren’t you the one who said that I would be nothin’?’ which is basically saying that to everyone out there that has said that. And the next line is, ‘And now I’m about to prove you wrong’ because I am! I am worth something, and I will be big!”
I admit that I was both captivated by Rebecca’s innocence and her fighting spirit. This is a young girl who has faced some horrific bullying, enough to make her leave her school, but she has learned “you just can’t let it get to you.” She has my support, and I will use her as an example to my own students about how to rise above bullying and be the victor.
Rebecca Black is worth something, and I hope she will be big!