She almost had us, too, with this recent and fairly charming video-blog of her watching "Friday" and sounding down-to-earth, cringing at her work just like you and I did the first five times we watched the video. It reiterated what we all sort of knew: that it's very difficult to blame a 12-year-old girl of reasonable means for wanting to be famous, and who was allowed to do so by the adults at Ark Music Factory, which makes "hits" for preteens. It also reminded us that the Internet — which has so far screened the video 63 million times — can be a truly cruel place. As she told Good Morning America:
When I first saw all these nasty comments I did cry. I felt like this was my fault and I shouldn't have done this and this is all because of me.
And I'll admit it was nice to see Katy Perry extend a rehabilitating hand, casting Black — the target of so much online mockery — in the music video for "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)."
Well, there goes that whole thing. Blameless no longer, and 16 now, she's cast us into the void with her for daring to believe in her for even a minute, and now I don't even know who to trust anymore.
Is it the worst? No. But it hits all the wrong notes of absent self-awareness, now with the benefit of production value that suggests serious intent. When we watched "Friday," we cringed because Black was young, naive, and awkward; now, it's clear she's making these decisions on her own, and yet it's the same bubble-gum, genetically-engineered hokum. It feels like an inside joke that's being forced on us, and it's infuriating.
Here's that video, which undoubtedly we'll turn into a cultural touchstone for the next few days/weeks/months:
I suppose it's unsurprising. Black did, after all, admit in that Good Morning America interview that she was "one of those little girls who would practice her autograph ever since I was like, five years old." In that same interview, her mother said that Ark Music Factory's fee was the "best $4,000 I ever spent."
Now I want this Saturday to end.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.