Rebecca Black, the singer behind the viral 2011 video "Friday," recently reflected on what she wishes she could've told herself at different ages growing up in the spotlight.
The singer, now 22, was just 13 years old when she released the song that would become a viral sensation and heavily quoted in pop culture at the time. The song's music video was subject to parody and Black received hateful messages and even death threats after the video was shared to YouTube.
Black spoke to "Good Morning America" about her life nine years after the video first launched and the lessons she's learned since.
"I didn't even realize that it was the anniversary until I saw it on the Internet, and I knew I wanted to comment on it and trying to think about what exactly I wanted to say," she said. "It's very easy to kind of immediately go, 'Oh, crazy nine years!' But I just realized that that wasn't accurate to how I was really feeling about it and also had realized that I never really, on my own accord been honest about what my experience was."
"I've done plenty of interviews and I talked about it a lot, but never have I ever brought up the fact that I battled with depression, never have I ever really been honest, and I thought I owed it to whoever might be out there listening or reading and scrolling through their Instagram."
In her heartfelt Instagram post, she wrote, "Above all things, i just wish i could go back and talk to my 13 year old self who was terribly ashamed of herself and afraid of the world."
At 15, she "felt like she had nobody to talk to about the depression she faced." She wrote that she wishes she could've told herself "every day is a new opportunity to shift your reality and lift your spirit."
There were a few hard years after. At 17, she wrote, she "would get to school only to get food thrown at her and her friends," and at 19, she added she had "almost every producer/songwriter tell me they’d never work with me."
February 11, 2020
"You are not defined by any one choice or thing. time heals and nothing is finite," she wrote. "It’s a process that’s never too late to begin. And so, here we go!"
Black told "GMA" that looking back on the past nine years, she wishes she could've been "kinder" to herself. "And I wish could have had someone who told me that it was okay to be hopeful. I think that's something that a lot of us struggle with."
"I see it all the time -- whether it be on Twitter or on Instagram or talking to a friend of mine or even listening to it my own head -- so many of us are constantly having things thrown at us every day, and nobody can really kind of shine a light and go, 'Hey, just remember there is always a chance there's always a moment to get up or to be forgiving with yourself.' I definitely didn't have that."
She added that she wishes she had been able to encourage herself more and tell herself, "It's okay to mess up -- nobody gives you a guidebook on life."
Black hopes that being so open about the hardships she's endured will help those "if they're going through a similar thing, or the same thing in their own way."
"They deserve to be able to relate and see that they're not alone," she told "GMA."
"Right now I have so many people on the Internet being supportive and encouraging," she said. "I've been obviously on the other hand on the other end of that, and I think being just purely honest with my experiences has allowed people to reflect on ways that they've acted in the past or things that they said, and do it in a way that doesn't need to be shameful."
She admitted that with this reflection many likely have found that they've said or done things in years past that they regret.
"I think it's okay to understand that maybe nine years ago you said something that you wouldn't say now -- and to acknowledge that growth is just enough in itself," Black explained.
"I'm not here to make people feel bad about themselves. I'm here to hopefully help somebody else find peace, and hopefully with me sharing my experience, some kid or some adult or someone my age or whoever it is out there, can find a little bit of peace or feel a little bit less alone."
She said that since posting the message, she's received many messages of support.
"I am so grateful for everybody being so kind and for people saying things that I never thought I would ever be able to hear said to me on the Internet, in a positive way," she said. "It's really shown me that like the Internet can be kind and not all humanity is lost."
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"We're in a place right now where there's just so much unbelievable heaviness and negativity," she added. "And all I've wanted to do, and have been trying to do and what I'll continue to do, is spread a little bit of hope and show that just because what some people can deem to be the worst thing to ever happen to you, can happen, and you can still come back from that."
Black hasn't given up on her singing career after facing the negative feedback from "Friday." In fact she says going through the ordeal has helped her to realize her passion even more.
"Weirdly enough, through this entire 'Friday' thing I found a love for music and songwriting and an appreciation for it that I just never even imagined myself being able to have."
In October 2019, she released a new song " Sweetheart" and she says there is even a remix on the way.
"The one thing that has never let me down and throughout my entire life and journey has been there for me is music," she said. "It has been there for me at my hardest times, and it's been there from the worst times. Whether it be people I love to listen to or really mainly writing my own music and learning to find my voice in that world, has just, I mean, it literally like saved my life."
"I never stopped writing," she added. "I'm still writing ... And I'll continue to write about my experiences and about things that are honest to me."
She also noted her most important takeaway from creating "Friday" and everything that came with it.
"If there's one thing that this whole experience of going viral and having 'Friday' be what it was ... it's that I have experienced such extreme emotions. And turning that into something that hopefully will help someone else feel either more connected to who they are or relate to somebody else and feel a little bit less alone ... that's all I'm trying to do," she said.