The Rebecca Black Project: Epic Fail, or Clever Ploy?

Posted: March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

As someone who enjoys reading and studying culture and trends, it comes as no surprise that I stumbled onto the story of Rebecca Black, who recently went mega-viral with her…ahhhh…’hit’ song Friday.  If you’ve seen the video, it won’t take you more than 1-2 verses into Friday to figure out that the lyrics are not exactly the stuff Grammy’s are made with.  In fact, the song itself, with its nasally auto-tone enhanced voice, cheesy digital background track, and lyrics…ohhh those lyrics…is pretty brutal.  Don’t take my word…if you’re not one of the approx. 60 million who’ve already seen the video, you can take a peak below. 

So what is all the fuss about Rebecca Black?  If you Google ‘Rebecca’ or ‘Friday’ (both #1 on the search list), you’ll be re-directed to site after site with comments, disses, and ‘fails.’  Let me give you a few rapid facts about Rebecca Black;

  • 13 year-old girl from Anaheim Hills, California (Orange County)
  • debuted on the Canadian Billboard Hot 100 singles at #88
  • single, Friday, and video, produced and written by Ark Music Factory (Los Angeles)
  • has received 62,000+ likes and over 557,000 dislikes on Youtube…along with death threats
  • has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Mar. 22)
  • has Bieber fever and hopes to sing a duet with Justin!

Now that we all know a little more about Rebecca…back to the question of what all the fuss is about.  Just how did Rebecca get the international notoriety?  Her video has spread like a California red wood wild-fire in the summer.  How did a video, with all its negative comments and disses, get to be so popular?  Part of the issue is the fact that our society has a fascination with the mediocre and mundane…I mean one look at sites like Rate My Poo and Lamebook and you’ll know why (I purposely refrained from including web links…if you want to check these sites out…you’re on your own!) some people have lots of time on their hands to pass along less-than-meaningful ‘resources’.  The internet is still a relatively new social networking tool for many people, and we’re still trying to figure out how to capture its intense marketing and power of influence.  So did young miss Black set out with the intentions of making a hit record…or was this a cleverly designed PR move to gain national media attention? We’ve seen this ploy with American Idol ‘hopefuls’ with no chance of making the initial cut…but every intention of gaining a little attention.  I mean…is Friday any more lame than Willow Smith’s song about whipping her hair back and forth?  If it was, it was genius, because even though the song itself is lacking…I’ll bet it’s stuck in the heads of almost everyone who’s heard it!

In my opinion, this is more about an affluent family with a little extra cash on their hands (apparently her parents forked over approx. $1000 Ark Music Factory to make the video as a gift to Rebecca), and the American…or North American dream of some good ‘ole capitalism!  What were her parents thinking?  If you live in Anaheim Hills, I’m assuming her parents have some decent education/employment…and did they really think it was a good idea to allow their 13 year-old little girl to be the subject on jokes, parodies and mega-media attention?  Did the fine folks @ Ark Music Factory really think they had a hit song when they sat down and spent the 8 minutes it must have taken to draft those lyrics?  Can we really blame a jr. higher for taking advantage of this fame (temporary or not) that has landed at her door?  Of course not!  So who should we really be rolling our eyes at…or should we be even concerned with any of this at all?  Why I am even taking the time to write about this?

I’ll bring us back to the point I made two paragraphs above…this is about our appetite for mediocrity and the mundane…and to see people fail.  In fact the word ‘fail’ has gained such prominence lately that it’s more trendy to ‘fail’ at something, than to achieve or win…(except if you’re Charlie Sheen ‘winning‘!).  I’m not really necessarily a big Peter Shankman fan, but I was re-directed to one of his blogs today, and I agree with some of his assessment of the ‘Rebecca Black phenomenon.’  I think that we’re so aware of our own limits, lack of success and mediocrity, that we’re more than willing to throw stones at anyone who comes along and makes us feel slightly better because maybe…just maybe…they might be a little ‘lamer’ than us.  When we feel like the whole world around us is caving in, we can sometimes have this innate, sinister satisfaction of the demise of others.  This should not be the case…especially for anyone who would call themselves a Christ-follower.  In fact the suffering/demise of others is an opportunity for a Christian to show love (2 Cor. 1:3-7; Acts 2:44-45; 11:27-30).  I feel bad for Rebecca Black…I really do…she shouldn’t have to be dealing with the thousands of harsh and negative attacks on her, let alone death threats…I mean really…come on!  I do admit that I’ve hopped on the bandwagon of having a little fun at hers, or at least at the video’s, expense…if I made a video like that I’d be expecting a little ribbing along the way…but all in fun!

To finish off this ramble…can I encourage us not to take ourselves, and others, so seriously.  Have some fun with things like Friday, but take it all in stride…its not worth attacking someone over.  As I mentioned earlier, we might be more justified to attack ourselves, rather than the other folks we put in the crosshairs of our opinions.  Society looks to reward people for what they’ve achieved, and to shame them for what they haven’t so-called ‘achieved.’   Paul calls attention to this in Titus 3:4-7…not getting caught up in what we’ve done, but in what has been done for us!  I hope Rebecca Black can get some better music coaching, producing, and prove us all wrong.  At least she had the guts to take a chance and give it a try…more than most of us would do!  Listening to her interview on the Tonight Show, she seems like a pretty level-headed jr. higher…so let me sign off with a few other random facts you may not know, or noticed, about Rebecca Black;

  • she picked the song Friday over two others because the other songs were about ‘adult love’, and she felt that being 13 years old…well that would be awkward singing about something she hasn’t experienced yet.  Hmmm…maybe some other pop artists should take notice of that!
  • Is donating all the proceeds from the song/video sales to Japan relief, as well as her school
  • The video has her, and friends, all wearing very age-appropriate apparel…nothing skanky…nothing too revealing in a sex-crazed culture influencing and seducing kids…yet has been more widely viewed than even Lady Gaga’s Born This Way video!
  • She seems to be pretty light-hearted, fun-loving and handling this pretty well…and she’s only 13!!

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