(Rebecca) Black is the New Black
Last month, Google ate another slice of world-domination pie. YouTube exploded with millions of hits as viewers laughed, gawked, and tugged at their hair in response to a new wave of viral videos. Maybe it was the thousands of college students on spring break with nothing better to do than to surf the internet. Or maybe it was the leprechauns working their mischief once again. But whatever the reason, the “Most Popular” videos on YouTube were consistently overshadowed by one diva - Rebecca Black. Like Snooki and Nixon, this sensation will not be remembered for the right reasons. One thing is for sure: whether you love or hate her, you have to admit that you’ve watched the video multiple times, for with controversy comes power. After all, in a world where pop artists arrive at the Grammys in a giant egg, anything is possible. Some of us have considered cutting Rebecca Black some slack. “Why all the criticism?” our consciences ask. “Are you against weekends? Are you against partying? Are you against fun, fun, fun?!” And although her voice is undoubtedly auto-tuned and nasally, the tune is undeniably catchy. This explains why the single received more than $1 million through iTunes sales alone, not to mention the amount of covers that exist. Even Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon created their own hilarious rendition of the pop song. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery, right?
Let’s also keep in mind that Black is still very young and therefore very fragile. I’m sure she has led an excruciatingly challenging thirteen years. Why, you ask? Well, just put yourself in her Sketchers for a second. She’s constantly being bombarded with impossibly difficult questions. Which kind of cereal should she eat? School bus or friend’s car? Which day comes after Thursday? Front or back seat?!
Indeed, being a teenager is harder than you think. “Partying partying” and having “fun fun fun” isn’t easy when you’re underage and can’t drink. Black’s parents popped some veins when they found out their daughter was “gettin’ down on Friday” in the backseat. One minute she’s grounded for those questionable actions, the next she’s being pulled over for riding in a car with a minor driving. Life's so unfair.
Thankfully, it wasn’t a complete sob story. Once she finally got her braces off, her parents paid $2,000 for her to make a music video and voila!—she’s America’s sweetheart. Now she can use the proceeds to watch as many PG-13 movies as she wants! Take that, Mom and Dad!
Of course it’s unfair that this little fame monster bought her celebrity - but that’s just how the world is. Look at Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Those so-called celebrities wouldn’t be anywhere today if it were not for their dad's money. It doesn’t take talent to be famous nowadays. With Auto-Tune as the spell check of singing, you just might be a Daddy’s check away from hitting superstardom. But Auto-Tune isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Even Lea Michele—a Broadway actress—relies on Auto-Tune on Glee. When it comes to singing live, Amber Riley (Mercedes on Glee) gets all the solos.
But even though Black is just a kid, if she wants to survive in the entertainment industry, she needs to grow thick skin. If she’s destined to be the next Justin Bieber—which she hopes—then she needs to learn to take some Youtube comment criticism without having her mom doling out death threats. Teasing her online isn’t really cyber-bullying. We’re not taking her lunch money. In fact, we’re giving her money. Plus, schadenfreude might not be moral, but it’s definitely normal. That’s why we have Youtube videos of electrocuted animals, off-key singers, and fat people falling on their faces.
If she wants to drive, she wants to be treated like an adult. So we should treat her like one. Insult away. Compliment away. After all, if she thinks she’s mature enough to be hanging out at the Ark Music Factory with sketchy forty-year-old men and other naïve pre-teens, then she should definitely be mature enough to take the criticism.
Let’s just hope that she doesn’t go so far as to write an autobiography that will most likely end up on the “50% off” sale rack at Barnes & Noble. If that ends up on Oprah’s Book Club list, I might cry.