In 2011, Rebecca Black, then 13, became a viral sensation after her song “Friday” hit YouTube.
With the song’s success -- it’s now generated over 69 million views -- also came backlash: Media outlets questioned whether it was the “worst song ever” and YouTubers posted negative comments on Black's channel.
But at VidCon’s “Suddenly a Star” panel on Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center, the 17-year-old Black said she has moved past the cyberbullying.
“Honestly I can say that online hate has never bothered me except for one day of my life and that was the first day it all happened,” she said.
Plus, Black has a strong ally who helps fend off haters: her mom.
“She has a YouTube channel and she goes on there and writes back to people,” Black said.
At the packed morning VidCon panel, Black and other viral stars GloZell Green, Laina (known as “Overly Attached Girlfriend” on YouTube), Jon Cozart, Catie Wayne, Colleen Ballinger (“MirandaSings”) and Sara ("Smoukahontas") discussed the pros and cons of Internet stardom.
For GloZell, there’s only one way to get rid of haters: “You block them,” she said without hesitation, generating laughs from the audience.
Ballinger said she gets a lot of hate but it only bothers her when they attack her friends or family.
“I get really bent out of shape,” she said. “That really, really upsets me … [but] I just cry and then get over it, move on and keep making videos.”
The YouTube stars said that despite the occasional hate sent their way, they love their fame -- and all their fans.
“My audience is like my family at this point,” Ballinger said.
“We don’t get to always see the faces, so when we get to come to VidCon that’s very special for us,” Wayne said.
“For the most part, I don’t think any of us would keep doing it if it was too much,” echoed Laina.
“Meeting people I love and having people meet me as one of those people … it blows my mind,” Cozart said.
As far as the future goes, many of the YouTubers said they had other projects lined up.
GloZell recently penned a novel, Laina said she wanted to break into stand-up comedy and Black said she was happy with YouTube fame (for now, she’s focusing on “being a teenager.”).
But Ballinger noted that while the stars “can be reaching for more things, it’s important to remember this [YouTube] is the thing to be proud of right now.”
Following the panel, attendees flocked to the front of the room in hopes of taking selfies with the stars.
After snapping a photo with GloZell, one fan squealed to her friend: “OMG, I got a picture."
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