Designer, Simone I. Smith Talks Family, Jewelry Line, and Battling Cancer


The latest line to hit Macy’s is SIS by Simone I. Smith. The jewelry line is a modern infused line with a touch of the '90s swag. However it’s the story behind the brand that makes it a better investment compared to it’s competition. SIS’s proceeds go towards the American Cancer Society, a choice that has much to do with it’s founder being a 10 year cancer survivor.

In 2004, Smith was diagnosed with stage three III Chondorosarcoma—a rare form of bone cancer. She thankfully  beat it proving she’s a fashionable fighter. Now that she’s beat probably the hardest battle she's ever encountered she wants to bring the grace of her accessory line to tell the sweet side of things. Smith’s line has a little bit of everything. Growing up in the era of the door knockers and bodacious styles, she incorporated her foundation with other styles for minimalist—"not everyone is daring and risqué to put on a pair of really big hoops so I toned them down.”

The woman behind the brand is not just a cancer survivor but she’s a mother and wife to LL Cool J. His wife of over  20 years took her love for accessories and a trying period of her life to help others upgrade their fashion statements. Flip the page to learn more about SIS by Simone I. Smith, her family and LL's overwhelming support for her.

Visit Her Website: http://simoneismith.com/

 

Photo Credit: Getty, Simone I. Smith

SIS By Simone I. Smith Jewelry Event

The Story behind Simone I. Smith:

SS: We have hoop earrings of all sizes, bangles, and lollipops. The lollipops [necklaces] are called, “Sweet Touch of Hope” and it’s the most popular piece besides the hoop earrings because it represents my journey as a 10 year cancer survivor. My lollipop necklace was disfigured during surgery and it looked like somebody took a bite out of my lollipop so when I decided to design Simone I. Smith, I decided to design the lollipop exactly the way my tattoo looked after my surgery and my logo is stuck in the middle which represents my journey.

Bringing Her 90s Era to Today’s Fashion:

SS: Some of it is subtle. But I do it for all the ladies because not everyone is daring and risqué to put on a pair of really big hoops so I toned them down. We have all sizes. I wanted to make sure all the ladies would be able to rock some SIS.

Her Tight Knit and Supportive Family:

SS: It’s very important to have my family on board because my family inspires me. By the grace of god all my kids are talented and they give me their information. Todd and I are both young parents so we have kids that keep us cool even though I think I’m cool, so it’s very important to have my family involved.

 

Dream SIS Models:

SS: Pink. My girl, Nicki Minaj. I know she has a pink lollipop, I gave her one when I first started the line but I would love to see her rock my stuff. Beyoncé and would love for Michelle Obama. We tried a couple of times, but it’s really hard to try and get her some times. I just feel like Michelle should be rocking some SIS.


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Future of the Brand:

SS: I love accessories so I would love to do handbags for sure. Maybe some belts but handbags for sure. If your handbags is right and your jewelries right, you’re it.

SIS By Simone I. Smith Jewelry Event

Their Hollywood Marriage and Family:

Simone Smith: We put god first in our family. Although we are fortunate and our family’s fortunate, they have chores and we have rules in our house. You do well, you get a lot, you don’t do well, don’t ask for nothing.  We both were raised by our grandparents and the mothers in the home. We both have god fearing grandparents. That’s how we were raised so we raised our children in the same type of environment.

LL Cool J: It’s not a Hollywood marriage. That’s what people forget. We’re from the same neighborhood. Sometimes as you become successful in entertainment, you can easily forget who you are and where you came from and you can start living your life as though you have an imaginary crown on your head. And that’s dangerous. It’s nothing wrong with being proud and confident in who you are but when it pushes over to the point to where you forget where you came from you kinda have to look in the mirror and check yourself.

SIS By Simone I. Smith Jewelry Event

His Thoughts on Her Jewelry Line:

LL: I think it’s great for women everywhere. For my daughters and women everywhere. You can do anything you put your mind to. Especially women that come from humble beginnings. Around the way girls, girls that come from normal places in this world and they need to know that they can make it and they can do something and that they have some value. it doesn’t always have to be about the rapper, actor, entertainer, or ball player taking them out of their misery. Although it’s apart of the fantasy, but it’s not always about that, you can do it.

Favorite piece from her line:

LL: Right now, it’s the lollipop. I’m not going to run around with some door knockers on, that may make a splash on VIBE.com [lol] like “you see your man in the door knockers’ but then again, if I put a trp beat to it then it will work. I like the lollipop though, it’s great.

44th NAACP Image Awards - Arrivals

Letting Her Have the Spotlight:

LL: For me it feels good. Obviously I was there to support her and help her but it truly is her vision. She really was committed to it, she put a lot of energy in it. It was her choice to give back to the American Cancer Society and I’m just glad to be cheerleading.

Staying Humble:

LL: I try to keep god first. I remember where I came from. Like my new album GOAT 2, Everything I’m doing, The whole point is to remember where you came from. To talk to my people and where I grew up. It’s not to get to Hollywood and all of a sudden start tap dancing and trying to be a different guy and forgetting who I am. I didn’t forget who I am, I’m just a guy that goes after his dreams. For a 20 something year old, they look at LL and  say, 'he’s been famous his whole life, is he even a real guy,' because 'all I ever seen is him on TV.' I never forget where I come from. I really am a guy from queens tat just worked hard.

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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