It all started with a viral music video. “Friday” — ever heard it?
It produced an avalanche of Internet attention, and over the next five months, singer Rebecca Black became the constant target of vicious bullying, death threats, hate mail, and even CNN-reported pregnancy rumors. Then she emerged relatively unscathed, made friends with Katy Perry, went back into the studio to record a second song… and turned 14.
Two prime-time TV appearances last night — a taped interview on ABC’s Nightline and a live performance on America’s Got Talent — showed that the teen phenom, if slightly unaware at times, is nothing if not resilient.
Last night on a Nightline segment with the alarming title “Rebecca Black: Dark Side Of Fame,” Black revealed that she has recently switched to home schooling after constant bullying at her school became too much for her to handle. “When I walk by, they’ll start singing ‘Friday’ in a really nasally voice,” Black said. “Or they’ll be like, ‘Hey, Rebecca! Guess what day it is!'”
Still, Black soldiers on: “I’ve had a lot of experience with not being liked,” she said. “You just can’t let it get to you.”
Footage from the interview showed Black signing autographs, taking photos with fans, and even talking openly in her bedroom about the varied types of cyber-bullying and hate mail she receives. Black and her mother both spoke candidly at their home in California about her career and how her home life has changed since that fateful “Friday” — which served as a startling reminder that, international pariah or not, she’s still a sensitive, precocious kid fresh out of seventh grade.
Black also made a live appearance on America’s Got Talent, where, after opening with a subtle nod to her second single, “My Moment,” she performed “Friday.” With the AutoTune off and the high-contrast video editing subtracted, Black looked and sounded refreshingly like a friendly teenager having a good time:
Tell us your reactions, PopWatchers: After watching Rebecca Black be a kid and be a star on her separate TV appearances last night, do you think she deserves all that negativity?
Friday, round two: Katy Perry and Rebecca Black re-team onstage