SIMONE I. SMITH: PROVIDING THE HARMONY
It always amazes me how the stories we choose to share about our lives reveal so much about us. They speak to our dreams, our disappointments and, most tellingly, to the values we live by. The other day I had the chance to speak with Simone I. Smith, talented jewelry designer, devoted mother of four, cancer survivor, gourmet cook, a woman whose heritage spans many cultures, a person of strong faith, and longtime wife of LL Cool J. While that last reference might garner the most attention, the fact is that Simone is a force unto herself – a strong, grounded, warm, genuine woman – whose stories speak to the importance of family, to her spiritual connection and to her commitment to give back.
Simone told me that she was born and raised in Queens by loving hard-working church-going grandparents and her mom; that her family was culturally diverse, with relatives from Barbados, the South, Italy, and that were Cherokee Indian. Family dinners would run the gamut from Italian food to soul food. The church was an important part of her upbringing, and she sang in the choir for many years. Both of her grandparents also had their own careers, her grandmother working in the field of nursing and catering parties until she was 80 years old.
It was these stories she chose to share with me that speak to what Simone values and the life she has built for herself today. A strong matriarch completely devoted to her children and her husband, a woman of faith with a great capacity to give to others, a strong work ethic and a natural creative talent – this is the Simone Smith I had the pleasure of connecting with.
In a band, the bass guitarist is responsible for the steady pulse of music and for how we hear harmonies – because when we hear several notes played together, we hear them all relative to the lowest sounding pitch, the bass note. I can’t help but think of Simone as the ultimate bass guitarist, setting the rhythm, providing the harmony, permitting the music to take shape around her.
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