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If you’ve been on the internet within the past two weeks, you’ve likely stumbled across Ashton Howell. You might not know him by name but Howell is the baby gone viral, the “honey bun baby,” if you will. Not only is that smug, adorable 22-month-old face too much to resist; the memes with which it’s been attached are quite hilarious.

If you’re like me, once you get past the memes, you wonder who is this child? How did he/she become a meme? And are his parents cool with this?

Well, in the case of Ashton, there’s an answer for that last one.

In an interview with, 29-year-old Ariel Griggs of Alabama, owner of a tax agency and mother of two, said when she first learned of her son’s popularity, she was confused and a bit scared.

“My first thought was, ‘How did they get my baby’s pictures? I mean I don’t have these pictures.’ I’m thinking ‘Let’s report it.’ You know, pictures are very intimate to me, very private. but it got to the point where it was like wildfire. You couldn’t stop it. I was very anxious and worried about his safety.”

While Griggs recognized her son, she knew the pictures weren’t hers. And she knew they didn’t come from her son’s father, as he doesn’t use social media. There was only one other person.

“I knew there was only one other person that would be this close to my son-that’d be my brother.”

Griggs’ 18-year-old brother, Steven Small, is a freshman at UC Berkeley who admitted to posting the picture to his Instagram page. He baby sat Ashton often before he left for school.

He thought it was funny to dress Ashton up, putting his ‘little’ big head in caps and stuff and taking pictures of him. I found out he has tons of pictures of Ashton on Instagram. I guess people just thought his pictures were cute and went from there,” she says.

“I’m kind of leery of social media. I kinda think that my brother set this up as a ploy to get more followers on Instagram, but he hasn’t admitted, yet.”

Still, there are some elements of her son’s newfound “stardom” that she finds amusing.

“I see that they call him ‘Honey Bun Baby,'” Griggs says. “I thought that was so funny. People have been asking if I can have another child and name him ‘Cinnamon Roll.'”

She also didn’t mind the fact that actors and singer Tyrese shared the image of her son on his IG.

Still Griggs doesn’t appreciate the ways in which her son’s image is being used with more adult content.

“After Thanksgiving, I’m starting to see more that are the crazy ones. The last couple memes I’ve seen, they’ve been a little X-rated. I don’t want people looking at my baby’s picture and thinking of stuff like that!”

There are those who are wondering what Griggs is going to do now that Ashton is “famous.”

“People ask me, ‘Oh! He’s famous. What are you going to do now?'”

“Well, he is a child. I want to keep his lifestyle. I know this may be too far-fetched to think, but I don’t want him to be like one of those kid stars who become horrible adults. I just don’t want him to have a hard time adjusting.”

And what does Ashton think about all of this?

“He doesn’t know what’s going on. He still wants his nap time. He’s still cranky in the morning. And getting on the potty is still big business.”


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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