Corn Kid: The Social Media Sensation

Tauson Biggs, Writer

Whether you’ve heard the song or seen the video on social media, chances are you’ve heard of Corn Kid. 

Tariq, lovingly known as Corn Kid all over the internet gained fame after a video of him expressing his love of corn went viral. The video was part of a web series called Recess Therapy. Recess Therapy is a web series and Instagram account co-created by the digital-media company Doing Things Media, in which host Julian Shapiro-Barnum interviews children in New York between the ages of two and nine. The interviews are then shared on YouTube and Instagram. 

Tariq’s Journey to stardom began one hot July day, in a Brooklyn park, when he was approached by Barnum, who had taken interest in Tariq’s corn on the cob. Barnum had no idea how much Tariq would have to say on the topic of corn.

In the Video, Barnum starts with a simple question. “What do you like about corn?” he asks. “Ever since I was told that corn was real, it tasted good,” Tariq responds. As the interview progresses, Tariq rattles on about his love of the tasty yellow vegetable. “I mean look at this thing, I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing!” he exclaimed.

About a month after the original video was released, The Gregory Brothers, an American Musical quartet, put out a song made up of the audio all of the original video. The song also blew up on social media, being used for millions of TikTok’s and Instagram reels and ultimately re-igniting the hype around corn kid.

With 720,000 hours of video being shared every day, how is it that Tariq’s minute-and-a-half interview managed to take the internet by storm? To find out, I turned to Wilmington Friends school students, some of whom had never seen the video for themselves. For these students, I pulled up the video and posed the question, “what were your initial thoughts?” “It was outstanding! He’s got some hot takes and I respect it,” said Devin Wallace ’24. Evan Jones ’24, who had heard a bit about Corn Kid replied, “The kid was very well-spoken. He even understood how puns worked to a greater degree than most adults.” 

For those who had seen the video or heard the song I asked, “Why do you think corn kid went viral?” “There’s something about making music out of things that aren’t music that people really like. It’s just a video that makes you feel good,” said Jones. “Since catchy music songs have been getting more popular nowadays, the video was bound to become popular very quickly,” said Brian Gainer ’23. Esther Adebi ’24, who is somewhat of an internet scholar, had a lot to say on this particular question. “I thought it initially went viral because of how cute it was, but I think that it has a second wave of virality from the Gregory Brothers making a song out of it before the meme could fizzle out of the public consciousness. They were already on everyone’s radar for making “Chrissy Wake Up” which took over the internet for months, so their decision to tap into the trend of reposting the corn kid really boosted the meme a great deal. Especially because songs are extremely shareable on sites like Tiktok and Instagram that prioritize watchtower and viewer engagement.”

Going back to Adebi’s initial point, people were obviously captivated by Tariq’s cuteness and infectious energy, but might there be a deeper meaning within his words? I’ll leave you with what Gainer took away from Tariq’s words. “I think his message for people is to try things they might not like, even if you have to put butter on it.” With that being said, I hope you have a corntastic day!