Backpack Kid Makes an Appearance at the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2018 Event
Backpack Kid, known to his friends and family as Russell Horning, gained international recognition for his iconic dances, his wacky style, and his meme-worthy persona. Recently, Backpack Kid Russell Horning was invited to the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2018 event alongside top celebrities gathering for star performances and meet-and-greets with fans.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning’s fame was already gaining momentum when he was launched to international recognition by pop superstar Katy Perry. The singer, impressed by his dancing videos on social media, invited him to perform alongside her on the SNL stage to her hit single “Swish Swish.” Still only a teenager, Backpack Kid Russell Horning already has tens of thousands of fans and a viral dance that has taken the world by storm: the Floss.
And how did it all begin for Backpack Kid Russell Horning?
“I just posted a video on Instagram just for fun, only thinking about 30 or 40 people would see it, then that video just blew up,” says Backpack Kid.
Those 30 or 40 people eventually turned into tens of thousands of viewers, chief among them superstars like Rihanna and Katy Perry who did their part to share his dancing with the world. Since earning a name for himself, Backpack Kid has attended Zumba conferences, played in celebrity video game tournaments, and released solo music in addition to a series of new and trending dances.
Most recently, Backpack Kid Russell Horning was invited to attend the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2018 Event, a major annual gathering of celebrities and performances that makes headline news each year. The Jingle Ball event began over 20 years ago through New York’s Z100 station––the most listened-to pop radio station in the country. The event hosts the year’s top musicians and asks them to perform their chart-topping singles during the Jingle Ball concert.
Today, it’s one of the most anticipated holiday traditions around with the bulk of tickets selling out within minutes after their release. The event has transitioned from a single performance to a globally-recognized tour across the country where passionate fans get to watch their favorite artists perform smash hits face-to-face. Celebrities performing at this year’s event included Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Calvin Harris, G-Eazy, Dua Lipa, and Khalid among many others.
“Getting invited to the Jingle Ball––it’s unreal,” says Backpack Kid Russell Horning.
“I get to walk down the same red carpet as the biggest celebrities in the game and meet my fans in person.”
Backpack Kid Russell Horning ensures that he uses his growing fame for good by spreading positivity and togetherness wherever he goes. He’s a regular speaker on the importance of forgiving others and showing kindness when it isn’t expected. Backpack Kid also volunteers across the country, surprising underfunded elementary schools with supplies and attending charities and raising awareness and funds for their causes.
If gathering the country’s most impressive celebrities of the year was the goal of Z100’s Jingle Ball event, then Backpack Kid Russell Horning certainly earned his invitation.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning Uses Fame to Encourage Other Kids to Achieve Their Dreams
By visiting schools with supplies, participating in outreach programs, and making guest appearances, Russell Horning uses his fame and talent for dancing to uplift other kids and inspire them to follow their own dreams.
The legendary “floss” dance popularized by internet sensation “Backpack Kid” has catapulted teenager Russell Horning into an international spotlight. His meme-worthy dances and iconic expressionlessness has earned Horning video shares from renowned celebrities like Rihanna and SNL stage performances with pop icons like Katy Perry.
He’s still a regular teen, though, and you can tell by the way he talks about his nerves during his live SNL performance.
“The whole country was watching us so, yeah, I couldn’t mess up, because if you mess up on national television, you are screwed,” Russell Horning told the Gwinnett Daily Post.
His dance videos have attracted millions of viewers, and his most famous dance was included as an unlockable choreography in the hit multi-platform game Fortnite. Horning sets a positive example for celebrities by using his fame to give back to his local community, spreading solidarity and togetherness. He’s been an active member and volunteer of many organizations and programs, focusing on inspiring kids and ensuring they have more opportunities to achieve their own dreams.
In the past, Russell Horning surprised kids at elementary schools with donations of backpacks full of school supplies, inviting them on stage to perform his legendary dance with him. He’s also appeared at Zumba conferences as a guest speaker and proven that his focus is on bringing people together.
He’s partnered with major outreach programs to accomplish this, most notably his work with the Lawrenceville Housing Authority, Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS), and Gwinnett County Public schools in different capacities.
The Lawrenceville Housing Authority provides “decent, safe, and sanitary housing to the low-income citizens of Lawrenceville and the surrounding areas.” As a local resident, Russell Horning volunteers with the group to help give community members a home they can be proud of. Since it began in the 1950s, LHA has developed 9 housing sites and a total of 212 public housing units.
Backpack Kid also donates to FOCUS, a program aiming to comfort medically fragile children or those who have significant developmental and/or physical challenges.
He gives back to local schools often but spends a lot of time especially with kids in the Gwinnett County Public Schools. He takes his iconic dances and performs them for audiences at Moore Middle School and Brookwood High School. He speaks at schools like Rebecca Minor Elementary to inspire kids and spread solidarity. Apart from his volunteer work with local charities and organizations, he supports fundraisers in the local school system such as his sponsorship with Gwin Oaks Elementary fundraisers.
Backpack Kid is still a kid himself, and still has a lot of time to bring people together, unite his community, and grow his fame and talent. But he’s already proven his worth as a positive role model to thousands of kids around the world.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning Headlines the 2018 Best Buddies Fundraising Walk
Internet sensation Russell Horning, known by his creative title “Backpack Kid” and his legendary “flossing” dance, contributed to this year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk to raise awareness of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
You know him from his iconic SNL performance with Katy Perry, but you may not know that teenager Russell Horning is a regular volunteer, fundraiser, and guest speaker at gatherings across the country. He chooses to use his growing Backpack Kid fame to help out those in need and to be a positive inspiration to his generation.
“People should be nicer to each other and better to each other,” says Russell Horning. “When they see celebrities giving back and encouraging people, they might think ‘if they can do it, so can I.’”
He’s a regular sponsor of charitable events and appears at gatherings, fundraisers, and conferences to spread his hope for togetherness. In the past, Horning visited Elsa Ebeling Elementary School with backpacks full of school supplies for the kids. He’s danced and spoken at Zumba instructor conferences and partnered with outreach programs such as Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS).
He keeps busy throughout the year with a packed tour schedule, visiting cities across the continent such as Tampa, FL, New York City, Memphis, TN, and Vancouver, BC. Russell Horning visits many of these locations explicitly for charitable events, such as the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Tampa he attended earlier this year.
The Friendship Walk to Remember
The Friendship Walk, which is organized and headed by Best Buddies International, is the top fundraising walk in the country for IDD. The mission of the event is to spread awareness and raise funds to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Those with these specific types of disabilities usually develop disorders at an extremely early age or else are born with their disorder, living out their entire life with it. Disability stems from disorders like Down Syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and others. These conditions can have a negative impact on an individual’s physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development, affecting all areas of their lives.
Through Best Buddies, people with IDD can build new friendships with caring individuals, develop leadership skills through hands-on programs, and participate in integrated employment.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning was this past year’s headline celebrity for the charitable walk in Tampa, helping raise thousands of dollars in funding. While there, he performed his wacky dancing and handed out signed t-shirts to excited attendees.
Earlier in the year, Russell Horning was part of a select group of celebrity Fortnite competitors hosting a live broadcast event called the Fortnite Pro-Am Tournament. (His iconic “flossing” dance appears as an unlockable component in the bestselling game, a major feat for the teenage celebrity). Tournament participants were offered unique franchise memorabilia to take home, and Backpack Kid brought his along to the Best Buddies Friendship Walk as an additional auction piece to help raise funds and awareness. Through regular community involvement, Russell Horning proves to his generation that celebrities can be nice, giving, and truly inspirational leaders, giving them hope and solidarity along the way.