Back in 2011, then 13-year-old aspiring singer Rebecca Black released a song called ‘Friday’. It basically talked about how ‘fun’ Friday is since it signals the start of the weekend. It went on to become the stuff of legends – but not in a good way.
While the single wasn’t exactly La Vie en Rose, it was panned by both critics and the Internet, who in true fashion, went overboard. Aside from being the butt of jokes and memes, Black also received death threats online. And as the artist reveals 9 years later in a touching letter to her past self, the scrutiny bled into her personal life – and nearly destroyed it.
— Rebecca Black (@MsRebeccaBlack) February 11, 2020
‘Above all things, I just wish I could go back and talk to my 13-year-old self who was terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world‘ said Black, who also described how she was crucified growing up.
At 15, she was alone and depressed. At 17, she and her friends experienced having food thrown at them. At 19, almost every producer and songwriter told her that they would never work with her. And even until now, her 22-year-old self, at times, still feels disgusted whenever she looks at the mirror.
But even with the near-decade-long torment, Black still finds a way to be optimistic and give herself a lil dose of self-love.
‘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’.
Rebecca Black’s experience is something that has grown more common since the last 9 years. Online bullying, now called ‘cancel culture’, is now a staple of social media platforms. The practice involves stripping down an individual of his/her merits based on a single action.
And while it does have its merits (see: Harvey Weinstein’s downfall) ‘cancel culture’ tends to be misused on the pettiest of issues. Just last year, someone on Twitter got her personal life picked apart when she inadvertently gatekept Van Gogh’s works through her opinions.
While it’s a bit problematic, someone like her, with an issue so minuscule, didn’t deserve the level of a teardown that she received. And with Rebecca Black, the poster child of cancel culture, finally divulging about its destructive effects, here’s hoping the Internet gets its long-overdue reality check.