PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
Rebecca Black is an amateur YouTube musician who soared into the public eye for her music video “Friday.” The song gained significant online notoriety in March 2011 for its monotonous lyrics accompanied by heavy use of auto-tune.
The music video was first uploaded via YouTube on February 10th, 2011, but it didn’t gain viral momentum until a month later when the popular The Daily What posted the video on March 11th, 2011.
CNN Marquees blog reported that Black’s music 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” .
The song was not written by Black, but by Ark Music founder Patrice Wilson, who also appears as the rapper on the song and video. For more lyrical analysis, check out KYM Infographic – Rebecca Black Friday Lyrics.
From The Daily What, “Friday” M/V was subsequently reblogged by other popular blogs like Tosh.0, Urlesque, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and shared on Tumblr, Twitter, Memebase and various other discussion forums. On March 14th, 2011, “Rebecca Black” emerged to the top trending topics on Twitter. By March 15th, the video had reached over 3 million views and by March 17th it reached 10 million views with the single reaching the Top 100 on iTunes. As of March 30th, 2011, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” YouTube video officially surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” in total number of user downvotes with over 1.1 million downvotes.
News Media Coverage
On March 17th, Internet news blog The Daily Beast interviewed Rebecca and her production company Ark Music Factory about her unexpected online fame. According to the article, the 13 year old from Orange County, CA, was quite surprised by the negative reactions and hateful comments, but it didn’t faze her to pull her music video down from YouTube:
“Those hurtful comments really shocked me,” Black said yesterday in her first interview since the song came to dominate a certain quadrant of popular culture and crack the iTunes Top 100 singles chart this week, besting the likes of Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber. “At times, it feels like I’m being cyberbullied.”
In the following week, Rebecca Black appeared on morning talk shows including ABC Good Morning America to share some of the hateful comments her video has drawn, as well as an acoustic studio performance of “Friday.”
The viral breakout of Black’s “Friday” also inspired many punchlines and parodies on nighttime talk shows, including Stephen Colbert’s performance of the song on NBC Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien’s parody song “Thursday” and live performance by Black herself on NBC Tongiht Show with Jay Leno.
On April 4th, producer Patrice Wilson posted a hip-hop song on YouTube whose lyrics defend the “Friday” video and addresses various other points brought up by the Internet community.
Awkward Dancing Girl Speaks Out
Benni Cinkle, also known as the “awkward dancing friend”, uploaded this video on March 18 in response to the overwhelming number of animated GIFs of her making the rounds on Tumblr. The video was posted to Reddit on March 19th.
Months later in August 2011, Benni Cinkle released a music video for her single “Can You See Me Now.” On September 1st, the video was posted to viral content site BuzzFeed, and was subsequently published to Gawker the following day. The video was posted to ThatGirlInPink.org, Cinkle’s personal site dedicated to help teens who have suffered from cyber bullying attacks.
Several image macros have popped up with fried eggs photoshopped over Rebecca Black in reference to the way “Friday” sounds similar to “fried egg” in the song. Parodies were posted to BuzzFeed, YouTube, and YTMND, where mondegreen jokes quickly emerged around the lyrics.
Brock’s Dub parody became especially popular, amassing over 30 million views on YouTube, and spawning several memetic phrases, such as My Hand is a Dolphin. The parodies have been made across various genres, such as Bob Dylan-like Version, Bad Lip Reading, Brock’s Dub, “Friday, Baby (Black / Beiber Mashup),” Dimitri Finds Out About Friday_ and many more.
On April 6th, 2011 a parody by the Illinois based Community Christian Church was uploaded to YouTube performed by church member Sadie B. The lyrics were adapted to fit a Christian theme with lines like “God is my friend” and “l don’t want this service to end”.
Justin Bieber Sings “Friday”
Rebecca Black’s wish for a duet performance with teen idol singer Justin Bieber has yet to be fulfilled, but it did come half circle on March 29th, 2011, when the teen idol singer suddenly began singing the chorus lines of “Friday” during his sold out My World Tour concert in Nottingham, England. After singing a few repetitious bars of the song, Bieber then transitioned into a cover of Britney Spears’ 1998 debut single “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” before performing his international hit “Baby.”
Bieber’s tribute came at a rather timely moment as Rebecca Black’s “Friday” officially became the most disliked YouTube video with over 1.27 million downvotes, surpassing Justin Bieber’s “Baby” which has just over 1.1 million downvotes as of March 30th, 2011.
Katy Perry Video
On June 12th, 2011, KatyPerryVEVO YouTube account uploaded a video for “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” that featured Rebecca Black performing a make-over for Katy Perry’s nerd character. The video is 1980’s themed and has guest appearances by Corey Feldman, Debbie Gibson and Kenny G.
YouTube Rental and Removal
On June 13th, 2011, a Reddit thread was posted titled "No, Really: Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video now costs $2.99 USD to rent on YouTube for 72 hours" and attached the above screenshot showing the rental claim. The rental requirement was eventually removed – However on June 16th, the video was permanently taken down from YouTube due to a copyright claim by Rebecca Black.
Followup on ABC
On August 9th, 2011, ABC published a followup segment revealing that Rebecca had left public school due to harassment from fellow classmates.
But this past spring, Black said the teasing and harassment became so relentless that she opted for homeschooling. “When I walk by they’ll start singing ‘Friday’ in a really nasally voice,” she said. “Or, you know, they’ll be like, ‘Oh hey, Rebecca, guess what day it is?’” Now her mother is her teacher, and said she agreed to pull Black out of school because her daughter was being made fun of and so she had more time to focus on her career.
Kohl’s Black Friday Commercial
On November 17, 2011, American department store Kohl’s debuted an advertisement for its Black Friday sale, pairing the song with a new set of lyrics promoting the sale.
Enrique Peña Nieto
On May 30th, Rebecca Black, whose mother is originally from Mexico, visited the south-central state of Morelos to endorse Enrique Peña Nieto in a public appearance. Speaking through a translator, the American teenager gave an speech on the importance of youth involvement in politics and formally supported the candidate by saying “Peña Nieto would do a fantastic job” as future President.
The event was covered by numerous English and Spanish-language bloggers, many of whom struggled to make a logical connection between Rebecca Black and the election campaign in Mexico. Later that day, Latina entertainment reporter Astrid Capon explained in a video blog post that Black’s appearance in Morales is linked to her uncle Gustavo Petricioli, who is a city council member for the PRI in the the capital city of Morelos state.
“This girl is not Mexican, she is not well informed,” Capon said. "And for the PRI to believe that because she is famous, young people will follow… is almost offensive.”
Search for Rebecca Black began the week of March 12th, when the video was shared on the Daily What. Search peaked between March 20th and 26th, with smaller peaks throughout the year. Search for her name had 10,000% growth between 2010 and 2011, making her Google’s top rising search for the year.
BuzzFeed – This Is Literally The Worst Thing I Have Ever Heard / 3/11/2011
NME – Rebecca Black following ‘Friday’ with ‘LOL’ single and album / 3/26/2011
Christian Post – Church Parodies Rebecca Black’s Friday For Easter Services / 4/8/2011