By the time the internet dubbed him “BackpackKid, ” Russell Horning was already an Instagram sensation.
Horning's claim to fame is his signature dancemove: “The Russell” aka “flossing.
” Which he does while wearing a backpack, ofcourse.
Horning took his backpack to SNL and dancedalongside Katy Perry for her performance of “Swish Swish.
” Since then, he's been flossing all over theUnited States.
But is there more to Horning than one quirkydance move? This is the untold truth of Backpack Kid.
Church camp dancer Horning has blown up on the internet, buthis first audience was a much more low-key venue.
When asked what made him decide to put dancingvideos on Instagram, Horning told Complex: “I guess at church camp a while back in summerof 2014 in front of everybody, and they all seemed to like it, so I was like, 'You know, why not move this to Instagram and make a video?' Then I made a video and went from there.
” It's kind of a strange path to have gone fromdancing at church camp to appearing in Youngsta's “Hip Hopper” video, which is essentially ananthem for pill-popping, but hey, we're not here to knock Backpack Kid's hustle.
Rihanna shout-out Katy Perry may have been a big help in launchingthe Backpack Kid to fame, but Horning's first big break came in 2016 when Rihanna used oneof his videos for her reaction to being nominated for eight Grammys.
Horning described the moment to USA Today, saying: “It was huge, because lots of smaller pages posted it from there, and it went superviral and I got 55K followers in two days.
” That backpack Horning's now ever-present backpack wasn'talways part of his act.
In fact, he got the backpack on a spur-of-the-momenttrade with a friend.
He told USA Today: “My friend had it on and it looked cool andI wanted it.
We had the idea to trade right there and then.
We were at a shoe store and I only had a creditcard on me, so I traded a pair of shoes for the bookbag.
That was a month ago, give or take a few days.
I started dancing with it that day.
” So what's inside? In addition to some speakers and phone equipment, it's just normal stuff a 15-year-old would put in a backpack.
“Um… My wallet, a pack of gum, a couple of SlimJims, and a water bottle.
” All that backpack fame is also catching theattention of, you guessed it: backpack companies.
His manager-slash-mom told the Gwinnett DailyPost: “I’ve just been managing my phone, respondingto emails and setting up times for interviews and now I’m collaborating with people ondesigning a backpack based on him.
” Ending racism As of this video, Horning's Instagram pagedescription contains the phrase “ending racism.
” He expanded on this in a long Instagram captionwhich read, in part: “Why can't y'all accept the fact that I havea lot of black friends” “I have white friends too but they don't likedoing this dancing video stuff i do so that's why you never see them””I'm just trying my best to get my viewers to like or dislike people for who they areand not their skin color of which they had no choice over.
” Granted, no one really expects a teen internetstar to move the needle on something like race relations via multicultural two-stepping, but at least the kid's got a social conscience.
Online learning Getting internet-famous doesn't give Horninga free pass to skip school, so how does the Backpack Kid keep up with his classes whilehe's traveling around the country? No, he doesn't carry his books in that bookbag.
Speaking with Power 106 LA, Horning said he”still needs the social environment” of normal school, but he also supplements with “onlineschool” so he can travel for his videos, like flying to New York to dance with YouTuberRoy Purdy.
That may be a terrible reason to pull a tenth-graderout of school, but the video has more than 5 million views, so that's.
that's important, right? Goat shooter After his appearance on SNL, Horning suffereda major gaffe when he uploaded, then quickly deleted, a video of himself shooting a goatin the eye with what appeared to be a BB gun.
After pulling the video, Horning reportedlyuploaded an apology video, which has also been deleted.
According to The Blemish, Horning said, “Yo, I swear to God, I'm sorry about the goat… I was really crazy, I'm really stupid, butlook… The goat's completely fine, running around, being happy.
He's just afraid of humans.
” Staying grounded So far, we've learned that Russell Horningis a web savvy kid who took an interesting talent and grew it into an impressive onlinefollowing.
If he can steer clear of the pitfalls of viralfame—and try to not shoot any more goats—then there's no reason to see Backpack Kid slowingdown anytime soon.
And yet, he's made it clear that part of himstill wants to just be a normal kid.
He told Complex: “I try to maintain a normal life 'cause Ithink it's what keeps famous people their sanity to where they don't get completelycocky and think that fame is getting to their head.
I play Xbox One with my friends.
I have sleepovers at people's houses.
Go to the pool with friends.
Pretty much what normal kids do.
” We look forward to seeing what kind of BackpackMan he becomes.
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