Rebecca Black, the singer whose viral music video ‘Friday’ made her an online sensation in the worst way, is speaking out nine years after her song hit the internet.
“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,” Black said Monday in a post on social media, where she now has 1.1 million followers on Twitter and nearly 870,000 on Instagram.
“[T]o my 15 year old self who felt like she had nobody to talk to about the depression she faced,” the 22-year-old continued. “[T]o my 17 year old self who would get 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.”
And what would she say to those younger selves?
“[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!,” she said.
“[T]his might be a weird thing to post but the honesty feels good if nothing else.”
The ‘Friday’ video, for those who missed it, was a song constructed with the help of Patrice Wilson’s Ark Music Factory, which put together the whole package, from lyrics to music video. The song talked about soulful things like waking up at 7am, having cereal, catching the bus and seeing friends.
The chorus? “It’s Friday, Friday / Gotta get down on Friday / Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend.” Also discussed: “fun, fun” and “partyin’, partyin’.”
“When responses such as ‘abomination’ and ‘worst song ever’ are the most printable comments about a hit record like Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday,’ you know it’s fully entered the realm of pop phenomenon,” Los Angeles Times’ music writer Randy Lewis said in a March 2011 explainer about why the song was such an earworm.
In short, it was a disaster. In hindsight, Black was also a 13-year-old kid at the time. A kid who wanted to sing.
The harassment got so bad that by April 2011, Anaheim police had to investigate death threats made to her management company and production company.
“In essence, the threats were related to getting the music off the internet or they were going to kill her,” Anaheim police spokesman Sgt Rick Martinez told KCBS at the time. “We can’t validate how serious they are, but we do take it seriously.”
Black took ‘Friday’ down off Ark Music Factory’s YouTube channel that June, citing a copyright fight with Ark Music Factory over who owned her image, but reuploaded it to her own channel that September. She’s still singing, though: Her newest single, ‘Sweetheart,’ came out in late October.
Nine years after the fact, ‘Friday’ now has almost 140 million views on YouTube, where Black has 1.46 million subscribers.
Reaction to her Monday words seemed to be generally supportive and included comments from some people who didn’t even know that ‘Friday’ had been a viral thing.
“Looking back, I felt very stupid for joining the hate,” tweeted one person, who said they were close to Black’s age and remembered when the song came out. “But now that I’ve grown, I think more fondly of it.”
Hours after her post went up, Black spoke to her followers again on social media.
“[O]kay so I just got back on twitter,” she tweeted, “and I am just so blown away and confused and grateful at the messages you guys have been sending to me in response to this.
“[I] could have never imagined support like this. That you a million times I just wanna cry!! (happily!!!)”