By now almost everyone has heard of Rebecca Black, even if they're not one of the 111 million who have seen her video, "Friday." Most people have already formed a fairly solid opinion of the girl and her music. And while we continue to struggle with how the song got popular and why this all happened–Why this song? Why this girl?–her roller coaster ride continues this week with both peaks and valleys.
First the positive: Rebecca Black now has a billboard celebrating her 100 million YouTube views. The billboard is in LA–Hollywood, actually–and it appears to be one of the newer digital billboards with sharp colors and crisp graphics.
Oh… and AdWeek says Black paid for the billboard herself, or at least her family did. Which is a little strange, I guess. Seems like a bit of a waste of money to me, but I imagine the family is trying to continue building her fame while she works on her new album (Ryan Seacrest, God bless him, connected her with an agent, who got her a recording contract). Still, it strikes me as a little odd to see this family continue putting this girl out there like they are, particularly in light of the week's not-so-happy news: she's now getting death threats.
A quick word about death threats: No one should ever be threatened with death for something they put on the Internet. It is a seriously disgusting display to see how intimidating and rude we can be to each other online where we assume there are no consequences. And I hope the people threatening Rebecca Black get nice long visits in a prison somewhere. No one deserves that, let alone a fairly innocent (and mature) thirteen-year-old girl.
Police are investigating and taking the threats seriously, as they should.
But when a large portion of the web audience is critical of your daughter's musical ability, even to the point of some of them threatening to kill her, is this really the time to put her face up on a giant billboard?
Don't get me wrong, no one deserves threats, as I've said already. But criticism… backlash… that's going to come anytime you put yourself out there. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't go on talk shows and put up billboards and sign record contracts and not expect some backlash.
And maybe I'm alone here, but thirteen is just too young for Rebecca herself to truly know what she wants. Think back to when you were that age. Were you anything like what you turned out to be in present day? Were your values and dreams the same? Rebecca Black is going to change as she gets older, and could very easily end up regretting this whole ordeal later in life.
If she wants to have a career in the spotlight, then I hope she does. If she wants to go back to a normal, anonymous existence… I feel badly for her, because that's not possible anymore. And I can't help but feel like she's not the driving force behind all this.
If this were my daughter, receiving death threats and rising to fame on the basis of how awful a singer she was, I'd pull the video, move to Montana, and disappear forever. No amount of money, fame, or attention will ever be worth the possible psychological damage being done to this poor girl. Seriously… take a moment, and go read the comments on her video… now pretend it's your daughter they're talking about. Would you be in a rush to keep her in the spotlight? Because I wouldn't.
The Black family clearly doesn't agree. I can only hope that the poise and grace she's shown thus far is something she's able to continue. Because the criticisms won't stop. The hurtful and hateful comments won't stop. None of it will stop as long as she keeps putting herself out there.
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