Last week, Black Twitter went completely crazy Vanity Fair’s recent coverage on LeBron James and his family. Social media users were not only amazed by the jaw-dropping photos in the feature film, but also by the depiction of black excellence that is not as common in mainstream media as some might hope. . Photographer Gillian Laub nailed a perfect literal spread that was an extreme departure from the hyper-sexed, violent and overly aggressive hyped images of Blackness that are commonplace in mainstream media, social media, film and television.
Love him or hate him, Lebron James isn’t playing any games. He’s entering his 20th season in the NBA while firmly securing his spot as a billionaire. On top of all that, his sons Bryce and Bronny are making a name for themselves in the basketball world. With Bronny going to college and Bryce starting his sophomore year at Sierra Canyon. Last but not least, Savannah James isn’t playing the role of a complacent WAG – eating the fruit of her NBA superstar husband’s labor. A businesswoman and philanthropist in her own right, Savannah founded I PROMise Makeover – an annual event providing underprivileged teens with prom dresses in 2018. The LeBron James Family Foundation also donated $41 million in scholarships studies to students at the University of Akron.
Needless to say, the James family is taking big steps and building a legacy, which is why Vanity Fair chose to cover the family for their upcoming October/November issue. And the images released were nothing short of sheer opulence. One of the photos included Bronny, Bryce, Zhuri, Lebron and Savannah – posed in front of artwork from the Nino Mier gallery in their dining room. In the stunning photo, LeBron, Savannah, Bronny, Bryce and Zhuri are wearing Gucci, styled by Matthew Henson.
In another photo in front of a Porsche 918 Spyder, Savannah gives a sexy and sophisticated reality – wearing a black lace dress with a plunging neckline by Chanel, Gianvito Rossi shoes and a necklace by Bulgari; complimented by LeBron wearing a stylish all-black Tom Ford number. LeBron’s mother, Gloria, also joined the family for the photo shoot, and Zhuri stole the show in every photo she graced.
But what stood out more than the exquisite images themselves was what the broadcast represented. Many are all too familiar with the stereotypical tropes that flood mainstream media depicting blackness. The stories typically range from the hyper-masculine, overly sexual black man, to images of black women rolling their necks and giving prying eyes. Both generally scream poor, oppressed – reducing blackness and black culture to trauma, struggle and victimization – reaffirming played stereotypes of black people as untrustworthy, dangerous – lacking decorum and the ability to self-regulate . So while the photos of the James family were an optical delight, the portrayal of black excellence and the declaration that blackness and the black experience is diverse, complex, brilliant, beautiful, rugged, and far from a monolith were by far the real treat.