Today is Friday (although you are probably not reading this on a Friday), hence I am reminded once again of the famously horrid song “Friday” by Rebecca Black. Her YouTube video became a hit, with more than 167 million views. Of the more than 3 million reviews the video received, 87 percent of them were “dislikes”. Yet, despite the juvenile message and blatantly idiotic lyrics, I find myself singing “Friday, Friday, gonna get down on Friday, fun fun fun fun” as I walk out of the office.
So how did Rebecca Black do it? It seems that more and more stars are being made not because of the quality of their work, but the sheer horribleness of it. Remember the Numa Numa kid? At least in my memory, he was one of the first “big time” YouTube stars, even appearing on talk shows. His fame has all but died out now, except for the occasional R&B song that has picked up the notes of the Moldovian tune he rocked out to. Now, here is the real question at hand: is the fame worth it if you are famous because of being the most horrible at something? I guess it worked for William Hung. . . sort of!
Rebecca Black certainly doesn’t think her fame a bad thing, as her second single called, “My Moment” attests. In this follow up to “Friday”, her lyrics say it all: “Were you the one who said that I would be nothing/well, I’m about to prove you wrong. . . I’m not stopping for you/no matter what you do. . . so take it just as far as you can/but trusting in yourself, forget everyone else. . . Haters, said I’ll see you later. . . I hope you are happy cause I’m ’bout to blow up.” Certainly fame can be a powerful motivator. Even if you are famous because you are bad at being famous.
I think Rebecca Black has well established that her current fame is more important than whatever else should happen in the future. But that begs the question, will her fame actually last? And in 20 years, when she looks back on her teenage fame, how will she feel? Her teenage brain has chosen fame over pride, which is understandable for someone in their youth. However, I doubt that she will feel the same, in five, ten, twenty, or even fifty years. Like many one-hit wonders before her, people will forget and she will have a minimal level of fame. And what’s more, the one-hit wonder she produced wasn’t even a wonder. It was more of one-hit blunder. (I’m sure I’m not the first to pen that term as it relates to Rebecca Black!) Just imagine what archaeologists would think in three-hundred years if they uncovered a video from the 21st Century, and instead of some incredibly talented artist like Yo-yo Ma, they found a video of Rebecca Black instead?
Basically, the moral of the story is this: fame can only take you so far. Especially in regards to Youtube fame, which seems even more fleeting than the average fame. If she is willing to scrap reputation and pride for fame, then by all means, have at it Rebecca Black! But history shows that unless she starts to add some real talent and skills to those music videos, or at least a snappier personality, her fame won’t last much longer than it takes for the next catchy song about “Friday” to be released.