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Akil “Sonny” McLeod Makes History as First Black Gerber Baby

July 3, 2024

July 3, 2024

Everyone collectively say, “Awh!” Gerber, a trailblazer in infant foods, has crowned Akil “Sonny” McLeod as its 2024 Gerber Baby, marking a historic milestone as the first Black Gerber baby selected for this famous title. Sonny celebrated for his infectious smile and vibrant personality, captured the hearts of the selection committee, which for the first time included parents of previous Gerber Babies alongside Gerber staff.

Akil sonny mcleod wins the 2024 gerber baby contest and is the first black gerber baby in history.

Sonny, who recently turned one, resides in Arizona with his parents, Dominque and Akil McLeod Sr., and his older sister, Sage. His favorite pastimes include reading his squishy ABC book, playing with toy cars, and bonding with his family over football games. His laughter brings joy to those around him, especially during playful interactions like peekaboo with his sister.

Dominque McLeod, Sonny’s mother, expressed their excitement, stating, “Every day, watching Sonny achieve new milestones, from his first giggles to standing on his own, fills us with immense pride. He brightens our lives and brings happiness to everyone around him.” This sentiment underscores the profound impact Sonny has on his family and community.

In addition to being Gerber’s 2024 ambassador, Sonny will collaborate with the brand to promote its mission of nurturing babies with love. His role will involve featuring prominently in Gerber’s social media campaigns and marketing efforts throughout the year, sharing his infectious smile with families nationwide.

The Gerber Baby image that has become iconic was first introduced in 1928. The baby featured in the original sketch was Ann Turner Cook, who was around four months old at the time the sketch was done by artist Dorothy Hope Smith. This timeless image has since become synonymous with Gerber’s brand identity and has been used in various forms of advertising and packaging over the decades.

Sonny’s selection as the first Black Gerber Baby highlights Gerber’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. This milestone not only celebrates Sonny’s charm but also represents a significant cultural moment, affirming the importance of representation in mainstream media.

Chandra Kumar, President of Nestlé Infant Nutrition, emphasized the historic nature of Sonny’s selection, stating, “After 14 incredible years of Photo Search, Sonny’s joyful smile and his family’s embodiment of growing with love resonated deeply with all involved.”

The Gerber Photo Search, which attracted tens of thousands of entries, was launched over a decade ago and was inspired by the countless photos submitted by parents who envisioned their children as the iconic Gerber Baby. Sonny emerged victorious from this competitive field, with his image set to grace Gerber’s marketing materials, affirming Gerber’s commitment to celebrating diverse childhood experiences.

Alongside the prestigious title, Sonny’s family has been awarded a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to one year, and a new wardrobe from Gerber Childrenswear. This recognition underscores Gerber’s acknowledgment of Sonny’s role as a cultural icon and its commitment to supporting diverse families.

Furthermore, Gerber will match Sonny’s cash prize with a donation to support maternal and infant health programs by March of Dimes, reinforcing its dedication to child welfare beyond its product offerings.

Follow Successful Black Parenting magazine and Gerber’s social media channels to stay updated on Sonny’s journey as the 2024 Gerber Baby and explore more about his cultural impact. Sonny’s story not only celebrates his charisma but also underscores Gerber’s enduring legacy of fostering inclusive representations in mainstream media. Congratulations, little Sonny and keep shining bright with that big smile!

Founded in 1927 and now a part of Nestlé, Gerber is a global leader in early childhood nutrition, renowned for its commitment to quality, research-driven products, and nutritional education. With over 80 products certified by the Clean Label Project, Gerber continues to innovate and support families worldwide.

Screenshot 2024 07 03 at 11. 39. 57 am on successful black parenting magazine

All trademarks mentioned are owned by Societe des Produits Nestle S.A. or used with permission.

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