Monday, September 26, 2011
I feel like I'm as much to blame as anyone, considering I posted the "Friday" video like the rest of the internet, but Rebecca Black seems to be setting a new standard for what it means to be a celebrity in the YouTube age - detached, bored, and not all that interested in the ostensibly artistic product created with her name on it:
Black is now tackling a new task before her: siphoning strawfuls of her iced tea into her glass of water, giving the beverage a sewage hue. “Rebecca is pioneering the way to do this,” Baum continues after taking one of the straws away. “She owns her own assets. As I believe you know, it would take artists twenty years to circle that material.” She’s right. Black has attained both cultural relevance and ownership over her work, a feat that usually takes other artists decades to achieve. She grabs a new straw and begins to pour liquid from her glass into Baum’s. When I ask her if there’s a specific sound or artist she’s emulating, Black repeats her undying devotion to Katy Perry, who is “not like those Disney kids. They are so in-the-box.” (A few days earlier, her publicist had rejected my request to take Black to the local record store, saying, “I don’t think that would work. She’s not that into music.”)
It occurs to me that Black may just be sick of talking about “Friday” or her nascent-yet-possibly-over-maybe-never-was singing career. Sitting at this table, she’s making it perfectly clear that she’d rather not have her day consumed by the adults around her, the way any kid her age would feel. Or perhaps what Ark Music Factory and Black’s parents, publicist, and manager have unwittingly created is a much savvier player than they could have imagined. Black seems to have fully internalized, probably subconsciously, a reality that may elude other recording artists: This interview will have no impact on her career. She doesn’t need this, or any other traditional outlets, for that matter, to get people’s attention.
When I asked her what she thinks of signing to a label, she cocks her head and says, “I am my label.”