‘Shopping While Black’ Vine User Rashid Polo: If Profiling Keeps Happening, I’ll Have to Record It

The 19-year-old, who became an instant Internet star for his Vine video showing store employees racially profiling him, talks about his online success and plans for the future.

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Rashid Polo

Screenshot of Rashid Polo Vine video

Rashid Polo, who made waves on the Internet last week after his Vine video of convenience store employees following him drew 30 million views, has no plans to stop filming his racial profilers.

 “If it keeps happening, I’m going to be forced to record it,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen again, because it’s very annoying and it’s a touchy subject with many people.”

He reasons that the racial profiling he experienced was most likely a by-product of living in a small Minnesota town. “‘You’re a young minority and you’re probably going to steal, so let’s keep an eye on you,’” Polo said of his profilers’ thought process, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The 19-year-old hopes that the success of his video will build him a reputation so that when he walks into a convenience store, anyone who thinks about following him around will recognize him and stop short, saying, “Oh, crap, we’re not going to follow you. You’re that guy on Vine.”

Polo, who says he had a lot of followers even before the video, explained to the news site that his video went viral literally overnight. Another Viner with more than 1 million followers shared Polo’s video, and when he woke up the next morning, he had thousands of new followers.

He said that having media outlets like BuzzFeed—a publication he has “read [his] whole life”—write an article about him certainly helped his video make a bigger splash. “All these sites I’ve been reading, having me on there—it’s a lot to take in,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Before all of this, I had 100,000 [views on Vine], and in the course of a few days I had 10 million.”

Polo thinks his instant Internet fame might be the start of an online video career. “At first I didn’t take it very seriously, but I feel like it could lead to something bigger if I keep it up,” Polo said, according to the news site.

Read more at the Hollywood Reporter.

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