As LeBron James and his family step into the role of being Beats’ very first family of brand ambassadors, they recently starred in the company’s latest ad campaign, “The King & The Viking.” And while LeBron, along with footballer Erling Haaland, were the focus of the spot, it’s Savannah James who stands out. We see her a few times, but throughout, her voice rings as she motivates her husband to defy the odds and show the world what he’s capable of as he’s done time and time again. The response to the inspiring ad has been significant, which is of no surprise to the mother of three.
“As we were recording the voiceover for the spot I was like, wow, this is pretty powerful. To hear my voice and Haaland’s dad’s voice, it definitely put soul into Beats,” she tells ESSENCE.
For many people, this ad might have been one of the first times they heard Savannah’s voice and seen her star in a campaign, but it certainly won’t be the last. After years of staying out of the spotlight to raise her children, which she’s been doing since she was 18, she’s now stepping into it. It’s her time now.
In an exclusive conversation, we spoke with Savannah about why this was the right time to put herself out there, how she motivates her husband and brood every day, and most importantly, how her values have helped her raise three well-adjusted kids, be married to a man seen by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, and duck and dodge anything that doesn’t serve her or her family.
ESSENCE: In the ad for “The King and the Viking,” we hear you motivate LeBron as he prepares for his 21st NBA season. We also saw you do an amazing speech after he became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer that was filmed and put on social media. How important is it for you to just pour positivity into your husband knowing that he’s the biggest basketball star on the planet and that comes with a lot of pressure and negativity at times too?
Savannah James: It’s very important. I would say that not only do I pour into LeBron, but just pouring into the entire family. I think it just gives a sense of grounding for us. And then my role as a mother, I’m supposed to pour into them and I do that with pride. Really, that spot for us was very regular. I feel like that’s kind of why it also showed and came through so well just because that’s how I show support for him on a daily basis. So yeah, I think it was very natural.
And getting to see you in the ad and hearing your voice is very refreshing. After years of being less in the spotlight as you focused on family, we are getting to see you kind of step into it and just get to show more of who you are and your interests through opportunities like this.
Why would you say that this time, with Bronny going to college, Bryce, preparing for that next chapter and Zhuri getting older, has been a great time for you to step out on the red carpet and out into the spotlight and shine as Savannah?
Yeah, I think that when I started having my kids, that was a time in my life that I felt like that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a mom and I wanted to sit back, for lack of a better term, and make sure that I was raising kind, respectful, humble human beings.
So, as they’ve gotten older now, I feel like having done it with Bronny and Bryce, and Bronny and Zhuri having a 10-year age gap, it kind of comes a little bit more second nature as opposed to me being 18 and just starting out and making sure I set that ground and foundation for myself to be able to raise quality human beings. It’s come a lot easier with her.
So, I feel like you said, with Bronny going away to college and Bryce being right there as a junior in high school and Zhuri is now nine years old, a fresh nine years old, they have a good grasp of what our family dynamic is and what is expected of them. So, I don’t feel like I have to be a helicopter mom per se and I’m able to go out and just act on my passions and to put my foot out into new things that interest me. So I think that it’s mostly that, just knowing that the groundwork has been laid and I feel good about the position that I’ve left them in. So I feel comfortable with seeing where my passions are able to take me.
Cool. And as a mom, I know for me with my Beats Studio Buds, I keep them in my ear when I need to get stuff done and my kids are doing the most all around me and of course when I’m exercising. When do you like to put yours in and zone out, or maybe your Studio Pro headphones, and what are you listening to?
I would say that I’m a Studio Pro girl.
Ooh girl. Yeah.
When I’m traveling, those are my best friends. So I listen to my iPad, whatever I’m watching at that time or if I’m just kind of zoning out I’m listening to music. I love a good Lo-Fi playlist that just kind of, you don’t have to worry about anybody else’s emotions or words or anything like that. So, that’s the time that I do that. And when I do wear my Buds, I am a one ear wearer. I still need to know what’s going on. I got to keep an ear to the streets. I got to still be aware of my surroundings. So yeah, but the same kind of vibes where I take phone calls or whatever, just because it’s easier.
It must be a mother thing because when I wash dishes and stuff, I will listen to jazz. I’m not even a big jazz person, but it’s like you said, no words please. It’s just soothing. I’m like, is this because we’re just overstimulated that we need that?
I think so. That’s a morning playlist for me always. I don’t want to hear nobody else’s emotions. I don’t want to hear what you’re going through. I just want to be still for a little bit. It’s only going to get crazy for the rest of the day from here on out.
Big facts. Big facts. I love that. And lastly, what’s been the key to keeping your own peace, practicing self-care and just staying on the up and up with all the years that you have spent, as you mentioned, being grounded, raising your kids, but also having your partner and your family front and center with attention on you? You guys have been on this journey since you were very young people. So what has helped you just kind of keep your head above the fray and stay centered? I know Lo-Fi music, but what else would you say helps you?
I would say that would be just staying true to myself and what my core values are. I would say giving myself grace to be able to learn more or to make a mistake or whatever. Not to be too hard on myself and just to block out the noise. I’m the type of person, either you’re going to like it or you’re not. It just is what it is and everyone is entitled to that. And I mean, that’s just my philosophy on it. So it’s just blocking out the noise, staying true to who I am, staying grounded in her and giving her grace for whatever may come.
I love that…and the Studio Pros certainly help with blocking out noise too!
Oh, 100 percent. You don’t got to worry about nothing.