This is the last Feel-Good Friday post of 2022. I love doing them because by the end of the week, we all need a little bit of feel-good, if you ask me. In this case, being the last one of the year, I searched for an extra-special one to send us into 2023 on a high note. I stumbled across this one and I think it fits.

Meet Tariq. Tariq is a 7-year-old who has gone viral because of his enthusiastic love of corn. You read that right – corn. It began with an 85-second video on Instagram and has spread across social media. What makes it so entertaining is the joy over such a simple thing, a vegetable. Tariq is articulate and even understands the value of adding a pun into a conversation. He’s affectionately referred to as “Corn Kid.” He probably loves that nickname.

“It’s corn!” How adorable is this kid? If you didn’t smile, check your pulse. Tariq’s video has been out a while, but it’s new to me.

I’m not sure what Lava Monsters is but it’s refreshing he named such non-tech games as Tag and Hide and Seek when he talked about playing games.

As happens when a post goes viral, the Corn Kid is rapidly becoming a celebrity. He’s in the “cute kids in videos” category, on his way to being an influencer. He’s a corn-bassador now. Tariq lives in New York. South Dakota Governor Noem declared an official day to honor him – Official Corn-bassador Tariq Day. His last name isn’t made public for privacy concerns.

Tariq’s profession of love for his favorite vegetable earned him the nickname the “Corn Kid” after his interview racked up millions of views and was made into a song. Last Saturday, he was dubbed South Dakota’s official corn-bassador by Gov. Kristi Noem, who declared Sept. 3, 2022, Official Corn-bassador Tariq Day.

“Whereas, South Dakota is one of the top corn producers in the nation, providing nourishment across the globe but especially to Tariq, a 7-year-old boy who recently discovered that corn was real,” the governor’s declaration reads, “… it is fitting and proper as Governor to make special note of outstanding young man.”

Katlyn Svendsen of the South Dakota Department of Tourism told NPR that the Corn-bassador and his family traveled from New York to attend an honorary ceremony at the state’s Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.

“As part of naming Tariq a South Dakota Corn-bassador, we wanted Tariq and his family to experience a combination of South Dakota’s two largest industries, tourism and agriculture,” Svendsen said.

She said Tariq couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the palace made of corn. “It’s a dream come true!” he said.

The video interview with Julian Shapiro-Barnum, host of the web series Recess Therapy, was shot at Smorgasburg, a weekly food festival in Prospect Park, NY.

Before the virtue-signalers get too carried away about exploiting a child, people should know that Tariq is making some money off his new-found celebrity. The Gregory Brothers made a musical remix of the video and titled it “It’s Corn.” It’s been viewed more than 100M times on YouTube and TikTok. Tariq and Shapiro-Barnum each received a third of the song’s profits. Other social media numbers are impressive, too. The original YouTube video has more than 10M views and the Instagram post has more than 30M views.

Here’s an amusing clip when Tariq admits he doesn’t know who Kevin Hart is, and mistakes him for someone else. It’s not good for Hart’s ego.

Wishing you a corntastic New Year. 2023 is sure to be crazy, leading up to the 2024 presidential election, so we have to enjoy the smiles while we can. I’ll do my best each Friday to find a story to share.

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