Gerber, Black Boy Joy

Gerber Announces 2024 Baby That Embodies Black Boy Joy

Gerber's 2024 baby is Akil McLeod Jr., a one-year-old from Pheonix with the nickname of Sonny.

Gerber has crowned Akil McLeod Jr. as the company’s 2024 baby. The one-year-old, nicknamed Sonny, won with his embodiment of Black boy joy.

Gerber selected McLeod out of the thousands of littles submitted to its 14th annual photo search. McLeod Jr.’s mother, Dominique, surprised their young family by applying without anyone knowing. The Phoenix-based family spoke with Today about the announcement and their shock at winning.

“What are the chances, right?” said Dominque, who considered the odds as relatively low. “I didn’t even think about it until we received the email, and I was like, I should probably tell Akil.”

Akil, the senior McLeod, explained to the morning show that his kids are part of “something way bigger.” Sonny becoming the new face of Gerber is the first step of the family of four’s bright journey.

“Everyone thinks their kids are special, but this is different,” he said. “I was telling them the other day, I feel like I’m here to just be their dad and guide them along the way. But they’re here for something way bigger than I could ever imagine for both of them. They have something about them and they unleash something in us.”

Sonny will take part in Gerber’s social media and marketing campaigns with his new title. Moreover, his family will receive $25,000 in cash as well as Gerber products and clothing for the next year. Gerber will also donate $5,000 to M.A.N.C.A.V.E., a community fatherhood program in Phoenix that connects and uplifts dads of all backgrounds in the area. Akil Sr. is an active member of the organization.

As for her baby’s apt nickname, Dominique knew he would be a beacon of sunshine and brighter days.

The stay-at-home mother of two explained, “One day, we were laying in bed, and I was pregnant with him. And I was just like, ‘I need a nickname for him because it’s going to get confusing with two Akils.’ So the sun just perfectly came through a little peek of the window and on my belly, and I was like, ‘Oh, Sonny,’ and we both were like, ‘Yep, that’s it.’ And we called him Sonny.”