Rebecca Black Posts Open Letter Addressing How The Hate Against 'Friday' Hurt Her
Rebecca Black is stronger than any of us ever knew
Anyone who spent any time on the internet in 2011 is sure to remember “Friday,” the viral YouTube-released single by then 13-year-old Rebecca Black. Likely, your memories of the song aren’t particularly positive. It was pretty universally mocked, and after receiving 3.5 million “thumbs down” ratings on YouTube, became the most disliked video ever on the platform.
What people apparently didn’t take into consideration at the time was that behind the song, which was admittedly pretty silly, was a child. Black was just 13. She undoubtedly had no idea how releasing that song was going to change her life. But now, in an emotional and raw open letter, she’s giving all of us a glimpse into how it did.
“I just wish I could go back to my 13-year-old self who was terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world,” she wrote. “To my 15-year-old self, who felt like she had nobody to talk to about the depression she faced. To 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 again. To myself for a few days ago, who felt disgusting when she looked in the mirror.”
“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.”
This is a heartbreaking glimpse into something nobody was thinking about in 2011. Yes, “Friday” was easy to poke fun at. But were the jokes worth hurting a very young teenage girl like this? At the time, few of us really recognized the power of the internet. “Cancel culture” was in its infancy. We couldn’t really have predicted the lifelong consequences Black would face because we all made fun of her song. We’re all collectively responsible for a little girl’s pain and heartbreak, even if we didn’t realize that at the time.
I’d like to think that as we’ve grown more aware of the power the internet has over people and situations like this one, we’ve become a little kinder. But is that actually true? Do we think twice before we leave an unkind comment? Do we stop and consider the potential ramifications of the things we say online?
If not, it’s time to start. Let’s never let the internet create another Rebecca Black situation. And if you want to help right some of our 2011 wrongs, check out Black’s new music that she just released. It’s actually really good.
Black took to Twitter one more time after her initial tweet containing her open letter went viral, resulting in an outpouring of support. “okay so i just got back on twitter 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!!!)” she writes.
Let’s hope the internet is only causing happy tears for Rebecca from here out and that all this support helps her heal.
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