July 13, 2018 04:25 PM

If there’s one thing Mary J. Blige loves wearing, it’s a pair of big hoop earrings. She’s been rocking them for years (see this throwback for proof) and now she’s taking her love of accessorizing and turning it into a brand-new design venture.

The award-winning artist teamed up with jewelry designer (and LL Cool J’s wife!) Simone I. Smith on a new jewelry line, Sister Love, which debuted at the Essence Festival with the launch of pair the Queen Hoop Earrings ($199.99). 

Marianna Massey/Getty

“Our friendship inspired the collection,” Smith says in the press release. “With Mary being one of my biggest supporters — personally and professionally — it only made sense to create a line that represented our love for big hoop earrings.”

But their collection isn’t just about designing “big, bold fly pieces,” Smith says. It’s about “#Queenz Rek-a-Nize Queenz.”

“#QueenzRekanizeQueenz means every strong, beautiful, confident and powerful woman can respect, recognize, love and support another strong, beautiful, confident, powerful woman,” says Blige about the brand’s hashtag. “When we are confident and strong together, we can inspire and help each other do amazing things.”

Smith adds: “As women working together, it’s important to be able to adjust each other’s crowns, instead of tearing each other down. We are working together to celebrate our friendship and successes and empower others from our strength of supporting each other.”

And Smith and Blige know a little something about sister support. They’ve been one another’s cheerleaders for years, which makes this project an “exhilarating and proud feeling” for Smith.

“We support each other in everything we do and in the ways we help each other grow from our individual strengths personally and professionally,” says Smith. “We are two New York ‘Fly girls’ from Yonkers [Mary] and Queens [Smith] with so many similarities. Together we make black girl magic to empower women to be strong, fearless and unstoppable. Working with Mary is to show other women the importance of supporting each other. We are stronger together.”

And for Blige, the decision to work with Smith on this line was easy. “She already created an amazing successful jewelry line and all the pieces are things that I love and she also has an amazing fashion sense,” says Blige. “I wanted to add to that by sharing some of my fashion sense with her and creating some things I dream about and I know other women are dreaming about.”

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