Rebecca Black: the Curse of the Web Star

rebecca blackBeing a web celebrity comes with a price – and no web star is immune to the ups and downs of overnight fame. Rebecca Black is one of these celebs, someone’s attempt to create the female version of Justin Bieber – a successful attempt so far, as Black has already caught the eye of singer Katy Perry who  had her star in “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F).” Black has also left the MTV Teen Choice Award with a trophy for Choice Web Star.

Black’s success is a surprise to many – her first single, “Friday,” being amply criticized, ridiculed, labeled as the worst song ever… Not the best song, not the worst song, the song just is – and was the ticket to Black’s international fame. But what few of those who poke fun at Black know is that the song was written and produced for her by Ark Music Factory, for a whopping $4,000, at a time when Black’s name meant nothing. She was only 13  at the time the video was released, but the media didn’t shy to crucify her: a “marginally talented teen-pop singer” some called her – and this was a polite appellative.

Black’s unlikely hit was a production of the media. It was content blogged about, and viewed by millions, after being picked from YouTube by comedian Daniel Tosh’s Comedy Central blog.  The viewers were not necessarily fans, but the virality of  a YouTube video is determined by numbers. If it wasn’t for those high profile blogs spilling vitriol at a teenager’s attempt to make a name, “Friday” would still be one of the thousands little obscure productions that populate YouTube as we speak.

But the media had to create the “anti star” and Black suffered the consequences. She got death treats, and because she was bullied by her own colleagues at school, she opted for home schooling. But she didn’t opt out from those who caused her misery in the first place: she’s still doing interviews, TV appearances, and she launched a second single “My Moment,” you can watch in the video embedded below:

Her moment it is. What begun as a nightmare,  is now a dream came true. Katy Perry is not the only fan. Internet sensation Lady Gaga defended Black’s talent at the Musicians@Google event last March. And there are many others to count.

Rebecca Black is now famous, and she will always have to deal with the wrath of the anti-fans, trolls, negative reviews of all sorts, incommode questions, rumors and so on. But it is the price paid by any overnight web star – in fact, it is the price paid by any star period. If it’s not a bad song for the media to dissect, it will be a bad haircut, a bad dress, a human error that puts the star at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

How many rise and fall at the hands of the media? Mel Gibson is still persona non grata, and no one got more flack than Britney Spears. What people seem to forget that these stars are human, they have feelings and deserve compassion, if not  privacy.

Anyone who chooses a public career has to expect some consequences, and to be ready to pay the price. It’s the curse of the star, it’s what makes many of the products of the media crash under pressure. If you walked a mile in their shoes, you’d get the point.

They are young, rich, famous and fabulous. They have the best cars, the best clothes,  jewelry and large bank accounts. But they are also fabulously unhappy especially when they read something like Thank you Rebecca Black, for ruining my ears every time I hear the word “Friday.” – or when seeing something like featured below:

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