I, like so many of my fellow zillenials, remember precisely where I was when I first heard about the viral YouTube sensation “Friday”: My middle school auditorium, practicing an audition sequence for the year’s musical production of Beauty and the Beast. I remember being forced, against my will, to stop rehearsing and watch the video on some rich kid’s iPhone.
And I, like so many of my fellow zillenials, remember laughing at the awkward facial expressions and autotuned voice of the singer, a girl who looked young enough to be there auditioning with us but whose friends could apparently drive already.
My sixth grade friends and I were cruel (we were really stuck on the driving thing), but we were just one drop in a torrential flood of hated and abuse that the whole world unlashed on 13-year-old Rebecca Black. Her voice and appearance were relentlessly ridiculed. Grown adults mocked the song on National TV. She received death threats!
Ten years after “Friday” hit the internet, Black has released another contribution to the weekend appreciation microgenre, an anniversary remix with Dorian Electra, Big Freedia, and 3OH!3 (yes, the guys behind that Hellen Keller lyric). And it’s frickin delightful.
Those carnival costumes, the cereal on the laptop, the stock images of buisnesspeople getting baptized in Rebecca’s rainbow car exhaust, I’m obsessed.
I’m thrilled Rebecca Black has reclaimed “Friday” from the haters, but it’s sad that she had to. She endured a campaign of public vitriol that no one should should be subjected to, let alone a literal child. Black’s life was upended by the cyberbullying. It’s remarkable that she has come through it with the strength and perspective that she clearly has.
We seem to finally be revisiting the times our misogynistic media culture utterly failed powerful women, like when Janet Jackson was dropped after the 2004 Super Bowl, and when Megan Fox was blacklisted for being… hot??, and Britney Spears was torn apart by everyone for everything all the time.
Black seems to be doing okay today. She’s carrying on a truly promising music career, having long severed ties with the sketchy
child labor company record label behind “Friday,” ARK Music Factory. And her TikTok is a treasure.
Nothing can ever really make up for what we dragged her and so many others through. But we can support them now, and at the very least, say we’re sorry.
Rebecca Black–– I’m sorry. I think you’re awesome. I would kick it in your convertible any day of the week.