Sakinah Deborah Bell…a philanthropist, entrepreneur, explorer, world traveler, daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, lover of laughter and life…a tapestry rich with family, love, loyalty, and dedication to elevating young people through fashion and music. Sakinah Deborah Bell ascended back to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala on November 4, 2018 at 5pm at her home in West Orange, NJ surrounded by her loving family.
On February 25, 1951, Sakinah Deborah Bell was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina to Ruth Jones and the late David Jones. She has eight siblings, 6 sisters, including her twin sister Diane, and two brothers. In 1959, Sakinah’s family moved to Jersey City, NJ and attended Henry Snyder High School. Sakinah met the love of her life, Robert Kool Bell at the tender age of 15 at Bayonne Roller Rink. At the time, Kool was an up and coming musician performing with his group, the Jazziacs, which later would become the incomparable music group, Kool & the Gang. In 1971, she birthed her first son, Muhammad Ibn Bell, and her second son Hakim Bell a few years later in Jersey City. Both sons, who where raised in Newark, South Orange and West Orange, inherited creative talents from their parents.
With a flair for fashion and an eye for design, Sakinah embarked on a career as a fashion designer. She studied at the Parson’s School of Design in New York City, and received a Bachelors of Arts degree from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. After completing college, Sakinah began designing performance wardrobe for Kool & the Gang. This lead to her opening the doors to her own boutique, Sakinah’s Fashions in New York City on 34th Street. Specializing in leather designs, she became known for her exciting runway shows where she showed off her creative fashion line Her favorite past times, tennis and golf, inspired her to create a line of golf fashion accessories, Kool Golf Head Kovers and a line of women’s tennis apparel. She also managed the modeling career of her granddaughter. Jurnie Bell, and was instrumental in signing her to Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. Sakinah enjoyed styling Jurnie, who became her muse and inspiration for opening a novelty shop of gifts for young girls called Jurnie’s Closet.
Sakinah and Kool were not only life partners in love, but also in business. In 2015, they created and produced Dream Starz, a talent show for young artist in Orlando, FL where one of their discoveries is currently in talks to work with Disney. Together, they also launched Just Kool Enterprises, a consumer goods company with products that includes Le Kool Champagne, schedule to be released in 2019, Just Kool Cologne and a skin care line in conjunction with the Dutchess of Austria. Her passion to help those in underserved communities, especially children led them to also create Kool Kids Foundation, an organization for inner city children to celebrate music by offering scholarships, free instruments, and music boot camps.
Sakinah, who was beautiful inside and out and known as the life of the party, loved to roller skate, spend time with friends, and traveling and exploring the world. But out of all her accomplishments and passions in her life, family was her heart and soul. “She supported me through thick and thin for over 50 years. She was always by my side, cared for me and protected me. She was my first love, my life partner, my everything.” says Kool.
She is survived by Kool and their two children, Muhammad and Hakim Bell. She is also survived by her mother Ruth Jones, and predeceased by her father, David Jones and her brothers and sisters Lou Sapp, Sheila Johnson and her husband, Ronald Johnson, Elsie Jones, Brenda Jones-Murry and her husband Charles Murry, her twin sister Diane J Graves, Dwight Jones, David Jones, and Sandra McDuffie. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jurnie and Xavier Bell and their mother Unanda Bell, cousin Lloyd Underwood, and nieces and nephew; Shawn Nieves Joey Sapp, Sherrell Sapp, James Jenkins, Ashley Woods, and predeceased by Gwendolyn Jenkin, Dichel Lydia Graves, Dwight Jr Jones, Alicia Jones, Wayne Smalls, Stacey Jones, Nigeria Jones, Monifah Jones, David Jones III, and Omar Jones.
Other loving family members include brothers in laws, Ronald Khalis Bell and his wife Tia Sinclair Bell, Amir Bayyan, Wahid Bell, sister in law Sharifah Bell, Laura Bell and the late Michael Bell, the entire Bell family, and the Kool and The Gang Family