Controversies, Music, My Name Is....

My Name Is Black, Rebecca Black

March 19, 2011
Rebecca Black interview

13-year-old Rebecca Black, an eight-grader from Anaheim Hills, is currently “taking the internet by storm” with her debut single “Friday” as a result of the backlash of the online commentary. It is hilarious that the song has gotten famous for being mercilessly made fun of on the internet.

Rebecca Black

The song gained immense online notoriety for its lyrics accompanied by heavy use of auto-tune. According to Black’s profile on the Ark Music Factory website, she’s a 13-year-old aspiring entertainer who has “landed the lead role in her school musical, Oklahoma!”

The video clip was originally posted on YouTube in mid-February 2011. The music video gained notoriety during the second weekend in March, when the popular blog The Daily What and a Tosh.0 blog post titled “Songwriting Isn’t for Everyone”, posted the video on March 11th, 2011. From there, it was subsequently reblogged and shared on Tumblr, Twitter and various discussion forums. By March 18, the video had reached over 18 million views in just a week, becoming a true viral hit. And hey, the single reached the top 100 on iTunes.

“Friday” is a song written by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson. It was released as a single on iTunes on March 14, 2011. Black’s video was produced by Ark Music Factory, a California-based video company that was also behind similar teen-pop videos like Alana Lee’s “Butterflies” and Kaya’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind.”

Since the growth in popularity of the song and video, there have been numerous parody videos and remixes. The notoriety of the song is another sign of the power of social media — specifically Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, in this instance — in the ability to create “overnight sensations”.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Black’s mother, Georgina Kelly, recalls how a classmate of Black informed her of Ark Music Factory, an LA record label that allowed young singers to gain experience in the industry by recording a track for a small fee. Kelly paid Ark Music $2,000 for a package that included a choice of two pre-written songs.

Black herself chose the song ‘Friday’, as “the other song was about adult love – I haven’t experienced that yet.  ’Friday’ is about hanging out with friends, having fun. I felt like it was my personality in that song.” Ark Music handled the video’s production, and also made heavy use of the pitch-correcting software Auto-Tune. Kelly had some doubts over the quality of the lyrics, but was told by Black that “I sang it as they wrote it, Mom.”

A sweet-looking Rebecca Black

In an interview with ABC News, Black’s mother, Kelly, stated that she was “angry and upset” after Black was brought to tears by comments such as “I hope you go cut yourself and die.” However Black said that she soon got over such comments. She also went on to make a on-camera request for her idol Justin Bieber to perform a duet with her.

In a review for Rolling Stone writer Matthew Perpetua described the vocals as having “a peculiar tonality that inadvertently highlights the absurdity of boilerplate pop lyrics”, adding that the refrain “sounds unlike anything else in pop music.” He noted the sound as being not entirely agreeable to listen to, but states that Black ultimately ends up “sounding like a distinct singer with an alluring sort of anti-charisma.”

The concept for the music video is based on a typical Friday for Rebecca Black. She wakes up and then heads to school, meeting her friends on the way while having a tough time deciding which seat to sit in in her friend’s car. The focus then turns to the evening, as Black and her friends ride in a convertible, before arriving at a party. A guest adult rapper makes an appearance towards the end of the song, delivering a short rap sequence whilst driving a car.

The song has received almost entirely negative reviews. Observers have called it “bizarre”, “inept” and “hilariously dreadful”. The song and singer were “savaged” on social networks across the Internet, while being seen as a “YouTube laughing stock”.

A scathing comment....does Black deserve it?

Kevin Rutherford, a columnist for Billboard magazine, wrote, “Black’s video for ‘Friday’ is one of those rare occurrences where even the most seasoned critics of Internet culture don’t know where to begin. From the singing straight out of Auto-Tuned hell to lyrics such as ‘Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes afterwards / I don’t want this weekend to end’ and a hilariously bad rap about passing school buses, ‘Friday’ is something that simply must be seen and heard to be fully appreciated.”

Despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews, some reviewers had positive things to say about the song and video. Entertainment Weekly writer Joseph Lynch noted that there was “something sickeningly catchy about this tune that keeps you coming back for more”. Rolling Stone writer Matthew Perpetua stated, “When you see this video, you immediately notice everything that it does “wrong”, but it actually gets a lot of things about pop music right, if just by accident.” OK! Magazine also noted that “some are calling the 13-year-old signed singer the next Justin Bieber”. Pop star Chris Brown also added his view: “Honest opinion? It was great. I’ll be jammin’ to it on Friday, Friday”.

Another nasty comment that Rebecca Black pronounced Friday as "fried egg"

After reading the harsh reviews of her song, Black said that “those hurtful comments really shocked me”. Ark Music offered to take the video down from YouTube, but Black refused the offer, saying that she did not wish “to give the haters the satisfaction that they got me so bad I gave up”.

Rolling Stone’s Matthew Perpetua said that “she is actually a pretty decent singer… she is a total sweetheart…and Black comes off as a well-adjusted, happy and grateful kid”. He also pointed out Black’s intention to donate most of the profits from the song to relief efforts in Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Rebecca Black....she seems like a very nice girl.

“I think that’s an accomplishment. Even a person who doesn’t like it, it’s going to be stuck in their head. That’s the point of it. It’s a catchy song,” said Rebecca, 13.

“I think I have talent on some level. I don’t think I’m the worst singer, but I don’t think I’m the best singer,” she said.

I agree with her. If you don’t like her song, just stay away from it. There are no justifications for comments that tell Black to go cut herself and die. She’s actually a cute lovely girl!

But the same cannot be said of the lyrics for “{Friday.”  Watch her video and see the lyrics below and you will understand why the song has been so critically panned. But hey, it is actually a catchy tune and you may wanna sing along with Black!


(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)

Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah-ah-ah

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning

Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs

Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal

Seein’ everything, the time is goin’

Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’

Gotta get down to the bus stop

Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)

Kickin’ in the front seat

Sittin’ in the back seat

Gotta make my mind up

Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday

Gotta get down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend

Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Fun, fun, fun, fun

Lookin’ forward to the weekend

7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway

Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly

Fun, fun, think about fun

You know what it is

I got this, you got this

My friend is by my right, ay

I got this, you got this

Now you know it

Kickin’ in the front seat

Sittin’ in the back seat

Gotta make my mind up

Which seat can I take?

It’s Friday, Friday

Gotta get down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend

Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Fun, fun, fun, fun

Lookin’ forward to the weekend

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday

Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)

We-we-we so excited

We so excited

We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday

And Sunday comes after … wards

I don’t want this weekend to end

Start Some Random Rapper

R-B, Rebecca Black

So chillin’ in the front seat (In the front seat)

In the back seat (In the back seat)

I’m drivin’, cruisin’ (Yeah, yeah)

Fast lanes, switchin’ lanes

Wit’ a car up on my side (Woo!)

(C’mon) Passin’ by is a school bus in front of me

Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream

Check my time, it’s Friday, it’s a weekend

We gonna have fun, c’mon, c’mon, y’all

End Some Random Rapper

It’s Friday, Friday

Gotta get down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend

Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Fun, fun, fun, fun

Lookin’ forward to the weekend

It’s Friday, Friday

Gotta get down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend

Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)

Fun, fun, fun, fun

Lookin’ forward to the weekend

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2 Comments

  • Reply Pikashiu March 24, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Thank you for taking the meticulous effort to write this out.
    My ears have bled because of this song but I wholeheartedly agree with you about cutting the little girl some slack.
    Please continue writing with such perspectives, it reminds me to be less critical of the world around me and that life is really beautiful.

  • Reply Masy April 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    The lyrics is okay but i don’t think this girl has the voice to sing this song. She can sing but for me, it is just average..

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