The Mystery of Rebecca Black

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This weekend, a hilariously awful music video made a splash on the Internet. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” is the story of…Friday, and all the wonderful things that go along with it. Like whether or not to sit in the front or the back of her friend’s car, and how at one point it’s the morning and she’s on her way to class — and then all of a sudden it’s nighttime and she’s in a totally different outfit heading to a party! That too.

And how her face is frozen in a creepy smile-grimace as though she’s been hypnotized into singing. TGIF. “Friday” is really sort of fun because of its silliness, and also because it helps you learn the days of the week in case you forgot (“Tomorrow is Saturday/ and Sunday comes afterwards”). Normally, you’d think it’s just a misguided video by a teenage girl and her friends. Thing is, it seems much too expensive for Rebecca to have made by herself — there’s at least a little production value to it. So it begs the question of Rebecca Black’s provenance. Is she real? Who made this video?

There’s a company called Ark Music Factory run out of L.A. by one Clarence Jey with partner Patrice Wilson, who are both credited on the YouTube video. 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.

Or, she’ll become a laughingstock like Rebecca Black. Or really any of their other clients — they basically have a stable of teen and tween girls with big dreams and little talent starring in cheesy videos. As the Ark Music Factory casting call explicitly states, “If you are a great singer without any material and you want to get discovered, then Ark Music Factory is looking for you.” The other Ark girls aren’t any better, although Rebecca is the only one who’s been unfortunate enough to go viral.

And when you’ve got lyrics like “Kickin’ in the front seat / Sittin’ in the back seat / Gotta make my mind up / Which seat can I take?,” no one’s going to pull any punches. Blame the sliminess that is Ark, not poor robot-like Rebecca here.

Anyway, here’s the video in case you’ve managed to avoid it thus far. Enjoy! If you can.