Rebecca Black grew up in Anaheim Hills, California, where she studied dance, auditioned for school shows, attended music summer camps, and began singing publicly in 2008 after joining the patriotic group Celebration USA.
In the fall of 2010, the eighth grader's mother, Georgina Kelly, paid Ark Music $2,000 for a package that included a choice of two pre-written songs so that she could gain real-world experience in the music business. Black later explained to Chris Lee of The Daily Beast
that she chose the more innocent "Friday" as, "The other song was about adult love – I haven't experienced that yet. 'Friday' is about hanging out with friends, having fun. I felt like it was my personality in that song."
As part of the package, Ark Music shot a video in January 2011 at Black's father's house, with friends and family as extras. The clip became a viral hit, starting on Friday, March 11, 2011, when the video's view count on YouTube jumped from around 3,000 views to 18 million a week later. Reviewers and bloggers queued up to pen derogatory comments centered on the video's amusingly amateurish production values, the song's innocent and simple lyrical content and Black's auto-tuned vocals. Yahoo asked straight up, "Is YouTube sensation Rebecca Black's 'Friday' the worst song ever?"
"Those hurtful comments really shocked me," the 13-year-old singer told Chris Lee. "At times, it feels like I'm being cyberbullied."
Despite the universal derision heaped upon the song, it has to be said the songwriters Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson have a fair songwriting pedigree. Jey's resume includes music composed for television, such as the 2008 Emmy-winning show Growing Up Creepie.
That's Patrice "Pato" Wilson who pops up near the end of the song to deliver a short rap. He's a producer for Ark Music, and he appears in a lot of the videos they've produced.
After the news broke that "Friday" had entered the Top 20 of the iTunes sales chart, Black announced that she's donating proceeds from the single to Japan relief organizations and school arts programs.
In possibly the video's most notorious scene, one of the male extras at the party scene walks up behind Black and appears to give her a butt slap. However, it was not as it seems, as Black explained to MTV News: "People think he was slapping my butt, but he was patting me on the back!"
This became the most-hated video on YouTube when over a million viewers clicked the little down-thumb dislike button and sent it past Justin Bieber's video for "Baby
" in online disdain.
In case you're wondering, "Friday" was written on a… Thursday.
The visual was the most-watched video of 2011 on YouTube with 180 million views. The runner-up was "Ultimate Dog Tease," where a dog owner taunts his pet with food and the animal appears to reply in English. In third place was Lonely Island's "Jack Sparrow" clip featuring Michael Bolton as an obsessed fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean character.
Black recorded a sequel a couple of years later titled "Saturday
Goofy fact: The "Friday" music video has been watched more times than there are Fridays in recorded history.
Because Black kind of sounds like she's singing "fried egg" instead of "Friday," the song started a meme trend where fried eggs were Photoshopped into pictures of the singer. Another mondegreen helped launch the popular YouTube channel Bad Lip Reading, whose creator uses his terrible lack of lip-reading skills to re-interpret a song's lyrics. "Friday" became "Gang Fight
," that had Black singing, "Gonna get you with my pleasant Nazis. Am I right?"
Benni Cinkle, who appeared in the music video as Black's friend, also sparked a gif frenzy because of her awkward dancing in the clip. The memes about "that girl in pink" became so popular on Tumblr - one of which had her sporting a mustache and playing an accordion to her stilted dance moves - that Cinkle became a target of online bullying. She used the negative attention to start the non-profit That Girl In Pink Foundation, which is dedicated to the prevention of teen suicide.
This was used on the TV shows Please Like Me ("Porridge" - 2016) and Happy! ("The War On Easter" - 2019).