Rebecca Black's music video, "Friday," has gone viral, with more than 2.2 million views in a little over a month, and not because it's good. The song is comically absurd, with ridiculously simplistic lyrics; the video involves literally acting out those lyrics and features a bunch of kids trying really hard to seem happy. Despite all the "partyin, partyin" and "fun fun fun," the biggest question remains unanswered: Who is Rebecca Black, and who the hell made her video?
Here's what we know: Rebecca is 13 years old. Her video was made by Ark Music Factory in L.A. Ark is run by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson, and according to Black Book:
Their business model is simple: give them money and they will produce a formulaic pop song for your 13- to 17-year-old daughter, complete with video, and then your daughter will become a famous music star like she (you) has always dreamed.
Writer Gabe Meline has even more info about Ark Music Factory, and other "artists" they've worked with — including girls as young as nine years old. At left is a video from a singer named CJ Fam, whose Shirley Temple-eque curls and baby face seem at odds with riding in limousines while singing, "I want to be an ordinary pop star."
It's unclear whether Ark Music Factory is, as one reader emailed us, "creepy guys preying on rich kids' improbable dreams," or an indie label trying to break into a niche market — or both. But the popularity of Rebecca Black's video says more about the American public than it does about Ark Music. From Britney to Miley to Toddlers And Tiaras, we love to snicker at girls attempting to entertain. We delight in belittling and sneering at these young women. Oh, the media — and pop culture in general — teaches these kids that putting on a show is the best way to get everyone to love you. Rebecca Black (and girls like her) tapdance as fast as they can for our approval, and it doesn't seem to matter that people are laughing (and calling the song "hilariously dreadful") — it only matters that they're talking. Paying attention. Respect isn't part of the equation when popularity is the sole desired result. It's not fair, and if you get the sense that Rebecca Black is being used to someone else's advantage, well, that's the very definition of exploitation. But it's all about the exposure, right? As Rebecca Black herself Tweeted today:
Over 2.2 million hits! Fun fun fun fun! Thanks so much everyone! xoxo