Rebecca Black's Strange, Self-Serious 'Moment'

The 14-year-old viral punchline's new song attempts to shame the universe that made her famous

rebecca black 615.jpg

Is hatred as strong as love? The curious case of Rebecca Black would suggest so. In March, the then-13-year-old's music video for "Friday" bubbled up from the YouTube warrens to one of the site's most-watched clips ever—rivaling anything produced by, say, Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga. The consensus was that the track may be "the worst song of all time "—prefab pop, delivered in grating near-monotone, communicating solely that Black has seen calendars: “Tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards.”

The track made Black—an Orange County, California schoolgirl whose parents had paid a company called the ARK Music Factory to write, record, and produce the song—into both a joke and a celebrity. Black soon found herself on talk shows, making guest appearances in other artists' works, and starring in fawning hometown newspaper profiles. She also apparently received death threats.

With a mocking grin and an exaggerated buh-bye wave, Rebbeca Black extracts what she believes to be revenge in the video for her comeback single, released yesterday: "Haters, said I'll see you later," she sings. Indeed she will: For Black, most of the world counts as haters. The entirety of "My Moment" is a rebuke to them—err, us. Painting a portrait of her apparent success, the video shows her jamming in a professional recording studio, getting her makeup done backstage, dancing on the red carpet at her own premiere, and, in the only clear nod to the "Friday" video, chirping her lines from the backseat of a limo (which she shares with what appears to be her mom and brother). "Were you the one who said that I would be nothing? Well, I'm about to prove you wrong," she sings in the track's first lines. Later, she gets inspirational: "Your life is in your hands / So take it just as far as you can."

Black isn't alone among punchline Internet sensations in following an earnest, so-bad-its-good performance with self-empowering piffle. William Hung, the talentless but warm-hearted 2004 American Idol contestant, rode his wave of snicker-driven fame by releasing the full-length cover album Inspiration, complete with interludes narrated by Hung: "Even with a lot of talent in whatever you choose to do, you still have to put in this hard work," he said in one. A visit to the website of Tay Zonday, the stentorian-voiced nerd poet behind 2007's bizarrely popular "Chocolate Rain,"

reveals that he dropped a comeback song just last month entitled "This Is You." The first line sounds familiar in light of Black's latest: "This is your moment," he bellows. "Got something to say!"

Presented by

Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club,, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.


Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.


The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.


Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.


Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses


Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In