With the ever-expanding social media landscape, “going viral” is a phenomenon more unpredictable than ever, and one that places its stars under serious pressure. Rebecca Black, who released the song ‘Friday’ in 2011, has since spoken out about her experience with viral fame.
At the time of the song’s release, Rebecca Black was only 13 years old with high aspirations. After a seemingly harmless teen song titled ‘Friday‘, which Black has stated that she never expected to receive any significant attention, Black virtually became an “accidental” internet sensation – but not in the way she would’ve hoped. The song, compounding in views by the day, was met with worldwide ridicule and poor critical response.
The likes of internet trolls and school bullies on top of the attention of broadcast media such as Good Morning America and The Tonight Show simply became too emotionally overwhelming for Black. The pressure went as far as to put Black into homeschooling and a battle with depression.
In a recent Twitter post reflecting on the 9th anniversary of the music video, Black opens up about the darkness she experienced in her mental state in younger years and wrote,
“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.”
— Rebecca Black (@MsRebeccaBlack) February 11, 2020
Black has also openly refuted society’s false assumptions of fame and glamour. It’s clear that 9 years on, at the grown age of 22, Black has used her new experiences and hindsight towards the ordeal to develop into a stronger person.
Black has since moved on from the traumatic experience of going viral and has impressed social media users with her openness and her capacity for resilience, earning the respect of many.
“I’m trying to remind myself more and more that every day is a new opportunity to shift your reality and lift your spirit.”
It’s no surprise that the internet can be a cruel place. Social media today is more powerful than ever, and to say its impact on viral stars is “heavy” would be an understatement. With millions of viewers, stars are placed under a hefty burden of responsibility not only for their audience, but for themselves.
In Black’s case, a 13 year-old at the time, the girl was faced with the responsibility of every teenager’s worst nightmare.
Black’s recent post has once again inspired the discussion of mental health and self image in teens in light of the influence of social media. Her story is an important reminder to us to stay strong and believe in ourselves, even when no one else will.
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