Since our culture has a fascination with all things shitty, Rebecca Black’s video “Friday” has been the talk of the internet, and therefore the only thing anyone talks about. To the uninitiated, the video is a gratingly bland pop song, reminding us that rich, white kids never have anything interesting to talk about. Upon its discovery, the dreaded internet trolls rose from the fiery depths of YouTube to lay their hatred upon her innocent video with the fury of a thousand shrieking WarCraft nerds. The backlash was so bad that she scored national interviews and has actually become a celebrity. So she eventually got what she wanted. Then why should we feel bad? Well, for one thing, nobody seems to understand the real culprit here.
Like most online insults, the criticism was horrifyingly misguided. People spew vitriol towards Rebecca Black as if she kicked in the doors of a recording studio, held everyone hostage at gunpoint, then vomited black magic on a microphone. Do you guys really think pop singers have any creative input? I’m sure you like to imagine Rihanna staying up all night in some cheap motel, scribbling the lyrics to “Umbrella” on toilet paper. What actually happened: some producer searched through his garage for an extra sex-bot, threw some lipstick on it and made a music video. Have you seen Rihanna perform? She moves like she has sand in her joints, and she sings like she’s choking on sand. She’s seriously one of the worst performers in entertainment history, but nobody says anything when cranking “Rude Boy.” So stop accusing Rebecca Black of “ruining” other people’s careers.
Once we accept that the music industry would rather build their own pop start than find somebody talented, we can point our fingers at the correct culprit: Ark Music Factory. AMF is an independent record label that prides itself on finding “future #1 stars.” You’ll immediately notice that all of their artists are definitely young, but lacking, um…talent. In an earlier video (that has since been removed), their repertoire of performers perform their one song onstage, burying their voices beneath tons of auto-tuned overlay, and moving with all the grace you’d expect from a prepubescent teen. In a Freudian slip, the announcer introduces one girl as “having more talent in her body than in my little toe.” You’d think the editors would remove the bungled comment, since he blatantly insulted her, but weirdly, they leave it in. Why? Because they’re not ashamed about what they’re doing. What are they doing, exactly? Ripping off children.
Rebecca Black apparently paid two thousand dollars for that song and music video. This makes Ark the company equivalent of those assholes who stand at mall kiosks and tell you for a “small” fee they can make your child a model. The entire song and video was funded by Black’s parents. This label is not looking for new talent, it’s looking for parents with delusions about their child’s talent and a willingness to open their wallet. Part of me wants to blame the parents, for thinking this was in any way a good idea. You can also blame every American citizen who pays money for this crap. I have no shame heaving guilt onto everyone who watches “Glee” and buys Britney Spear’s new single despite her inability to move faster than a paraplegic gorilla. Now everybody wants their own High School Musical. Ultimately, though, you have to blame the man behind the curtain: Pato.
Patrice Wilson, aka “Pato,” the lead producer on all these songs and the mysterious rapper who appears in every single one of these poor girl’s videos. His raps are borderline retarded, where he spits intense lyrics like “Passin’ by is a school bus/in front of me” and “She helped me with my grades/feelin’ everything/eating sugar cane.” Do people eat raw sugar cane anymore? This guy actually put a pen to paper and wrote “Friday, Friday, Friday,” then probably got laid and punched a jazz musician. He looks like the kind of dude who aspired to write hit songs that would fill his double decker swimming pool with super models, then realized convincing twelve year old girls to pay him was an easier way to get rich (to be honest, he’s right). On his Ark Music profile page, one commenter, and assumed friend, hilariously summarizes his current status:
Yes, Patrice, what the hell happened?
In the meantime, he’ll keep collecting young, white females like the Predator collects human skulls. I’m sure all of these girls are nice, and somewhat talented (apparently Rebecca Black has a real voice). This video, from fellow Ark performer Alana Lee, is actually adorable. But, they need to learn that buying your own career isn’t really a career. Have you seen Justin Bieber’s home video tapes? Say what you will about the golden shell he calls a haircut, but the kid had talent. Ke$ha at least had the balls to sneak into Prince’s house. Black needs to take a page out of her playbook and risk a trespassing lawsuit. That’s a real artist.
If there’s any silver lining to this, Black’s success introduced the world to a similar video which might be the most important pop-culture event of our generation:
We’re drawing connections to celebrities through clothes they wear, and concluding we’re better than them because they fit us better. Is there a better statement on Rebecca Black’s video? Just because a piece of clothing fits your hips better doesn’t qualify you for the high life. So Ark, stop selling those two-thousand dollar jeans to people. Although, I’ve been considering a pop career myself. Can we record on Saturday? It comes after Friday.