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If you've spent more than 15 minutes on the internet in the past month, you've definitely seen the "Corn Kid" — an adorable 7-year-old boy who is absolutely enamored with corn on the cob. In the 90-ish second clip, filmed for the "Recess Therapy" series, Tariq declares his love for corn, says that "everything changed" after he had buttered corn, and he wishes everyone a "corntastic day." And yes, he went ridiculously viral on every possible platform.
As a result, Tariq was recently invited to South Dakota, where he visited the Corn Palace (of course) and was named the state's Official Corn-bassador. "South Dakota is one of the top corn producers in the nation, providing nourishment to people across the globe, especially Tariq [...] who recently discovered that corn was real," Governor Kristi Noem wrote in a pun-filled official proclamation. "Tariq's a-maize-ing endorsement contains more than a kernel of truth, and has reached ears across the world via social media."
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) September 3, 2022
The South Dakota Department of Tourism held a ceremonial press conference in Tariq's honor, and Bob Everson, the mayor of Mitchell, South Dakota, proclaimed Saturday, September 3 as "Tariq Corn Kid Day" for the city. Tariq (whose family has chosen to withhold their surname to protect their privacy) also received a Corn-bassador Trophy and a statue of Cornelius, the mascot for the Corn Palace.
"We just really wanted to celebrate Tariq and his family and his love of corn, and there's really no better place to do it than The World's Only Corn Palace," Katlyn Svendson, the Department of Tourism's Public Relations Director, said according to Farm Forum. "We take our hospitality seriously in South Dakota. It really just kind of gives you that warm, good feeling, so we're just blessed that they agreed to come to South Dakota and do this with us. We couldn't be happier that they're here."
— South Dakota Tourism (@southdakota) September 3, 2022
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Tariq. In addition to his trip to South Dakota, he also appeared in a Twitter video for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team and partnered with Chipotle to make an Instagram video for the fast-casual chain, in which he turns down every ingredient except… yeah, you guessed it. According to a Chipotle spokesperson, it quickly became their most liked and shared Instagram post ever.
"Chipotle always aspires to work with true fans of the brand," Candice Beck, Chipotle's director of social, influencer and Web3, told PR Week. "This was such a great representation of when we see something happening in culture and the way we are part of it in a way that is natural and genuine and authentic to Chipotle."
Tariq's mother, Jessica, seems to be taking this whole thing in stride. "He's just having fun," she told the Mitchell Republic, "but next week school starts and he'll be back to being a normal kid soon."
Until the "normal kid" part happens, Tariq is making videos on Cameo, and has inspired everyone from TikTokers to, uh, Kevin Bacon to cover a song based on his observations about corn. Everything really did change, all because of corn.