With her video “Friday” having gotten 16 million hits, Rebecca Black is an official Youtube sensation. Everyone seems to have an opinion about her, much of it negative! We’ve been very lucky to have gotten to speak with her to get her perspective on her own phenomenal success.
What do you think about the viral success of your video “Friday?”
Obviously it’s impressive. It really succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. We expected more of a cult following, so the video getting this many hits is a little hard to wrap one’s mind around. It really changes the parameters.
Well the levels of feedback from a core of interested viewers is quite different from that of a mass audience, and the types of feedback we’ve been getting is different than with a smaller audience to say the least. It definitely puts us in touch with a more representative slice of the public.
How are you taking the negative feedback? Some people can be quite cruel.
We always expected that some people would take the video literally, and anyone who did is going to think “this song isn’t very good,” and then there are those who see it as a smart satire of a bankrupt cultural landscape. What my associates and I are really interested in are the grey areas, where people are unsure of what’s going on. That’s why there’s such an enforced sense of wholesomeness juxtaposed with insinuations of decadence. We want to make people uncomfortable. Likewise, the incongruities of race and age in the segment with Pato.
Pato is the rapper?
Pato Wilson is an author and performance artist. It’s comical to actually think of him as a “rapper” though technically that’s what he’s doing. Having Pato, a much older man interacting with a young white girl was another attempt at incongruity. He was pretty uncomfortable with the concept until we’d delineated his role as being in total isolation, in his car. We wanted to make a statement about racial ghetto-ization in pop culture, though the age angle seems to have been more resonant with the public at large, which is interesting.
What do you mean by the “insinuations of decadence?”
Well, I’m thirteen, so we knew everything would have to be very subtle, or we’d get the wrong kind of blow-back. Still it was important that interspersed throughout this paean to banality that there be references to “partying partying,” and euphemistically “sitting in the back seat.”
What kind of partying do you do?
When my friends and I are experimenting with drugs, we like to get in a controlled situation and do PCP. It’s not in vogue, so there’s less of a danger of addiction, as there’s not a regular dealer. We also like to do obscure hallucinogens, like Igobaine, for the same reason. It really is, all irony aside, important to party responsibly.
Are you in any relationships right now?
For the sake of what we’re trying to do artistically and as a social science experience, it’s important that the persona I’m embodying in this video not be sexualized from within, though obviously there’s going to be a sexual framework imposed from the feedback loops. It would really contaminate the study if I made any comments of my own in that regard.
So what’s next for Rebecca Black?