In a deeply moving and inspirational memoir, Nicole Avant, former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas, and wife of Netflix co-Chief Executive Ted Sarandos, reflects on her mother’s tragic murder and the powerful message contained within her final text message. Titled "Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief With Grit, Grace, and Gratitude," the memoir not only delves into the profound impact of her mother’s untimely death but also serves as a testament to love, legacy, and the enduring power of words.
A Tragic Loss
Nicole Avant’s parents, Jacqueline Avant and Clarence Avant, were prominent figures in their own right. Jacqueline, a Los Angeles philanthropist, was tragically shot and killed during a burglary at her Beverly Hills home in 2021 at the age of 81. Her husband, Clarence, a legendary music producer known as the "Black Godfather," passed away earlier the same year at the age of 92. These losses marked a profound turning point in Nicole’s life.
Honoring a Mother’s Last Words
What sets this memoir apart is the profound significance of Jacqueline’s final text message to her daughter. A seemingly casual exchange about sweet potato pie held an extraordinary message. Just moments before the tragedy unfolded, Jacqueline’s last words to Nicole were, "OK. Think you’ll be happy." Nicole Avant, reflecting on her mother’s belief in the power of words and thoughts shaping one’s life, found solace and inspiration in this last message.
> "Her last words were — I really, I believe cause I don’t believe in coincidences — and out of all the things that she could say to me before somebody broke into her house, those words were: ‘OK. Think you’ll be happy.’ My mom was big on your words and your thoughts creating your life," Nicole Avant shared in a recent interview.
A Legacy of Philanthropy and Music
Jacqueline Avant, over the years, had made significant contributions to her community as a philanthropist, most notably in support of the UCLA International Student Center. She served as the president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center, and held the role of entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction.
Clarence Avant, on the other hand, left an indelible mark on the music industry. His work spanned across various genres, and he advised or worked with notable stars like Jimmy Smith, Lalo Schifrin, Babyface, Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, the SOS Band, and Cherrelle. His nickname, the "Black Godfather," reflected his influence and impact. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016 and was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.
A Life of Achievements and Perseverance
A 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times described Clarence Avant as a "poor kid from Depression-era North Carolina who rose to become a behind-the-scenes titan of managing, deal making, and problem-solving across the spectrum of Black entertainment." His contributions extended from jazz and soul royalty of an earlier era to today’s R&B/rap empires, with a touch of sports and politics.
A Lasting Love Story
The love story between Jacqueline and Clarence began in the mid-1960s when they met. Jacqueline was a model as part of the traveling Ebony Fashion Fair, which aimed to introduce new styles to Black communities. They married in 1967 and had two children, Nicole and Alex. Their love endured for over 50 years, a testament to the strength of their bond.
The Tragic End and Justice Served
Their enduring love was shattered when Aariel Maynor broke into their Beverly Hills home on December 1, 2021, and fatally shot Jacqueline in the back. This heinous act, which also included the planned burglary of the Avants’ home and shooting at an unarmed security guard, resulted in Maynor’s sentencing to 150 years to life in prison in April 2022.
Nicole Avant’s memoir serves as a poignant tribute to her mother, capturing the essence of her final text message and the powerful legacy of her parents. It is a story of love, loss, resilience, and the enduring impact of words and thoughts.
> "Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief With Grit, Grace, and Gratitude" by Nicole Avant is a heartfelt memoir that reminds us of the profound impact words can have on our lives and how love and legacy can endure even in the face of tragedy.
Fascinating Insights Worth Exploring
What motivated Nicole Avant to write a memoir?
In a poignant exploration of her mother’s untimely death and her upbringing, Nicole Avant found the motivation to pen her latest memoir, titled "Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace, and Gratitude." In this deeply personal work, Avant reflects on the profound impact of her mother’s passing and the values instilled in her during her upbringing. She explains, "This book is about legacy. It’s about love. It’s about life." Through her memoir, Avant channels her grief into a narrative that delves into the enduring themes of legacy, love, and the profound significance of life itself.
Who were Nicole Avant’s parents, and what is their legacy?
Nicole Avant’s parents, the remarkable philanthropist Jacqueline Avant and the influential entertainment mogul Clarence Avant, left an indelible mark on American culture. Tragically, Jacqueline’s life was cut short during a burglary in 2021 when she was 81 years old. Clarence, a titan in the entertainment industry, passed away earlier this year at the age of 92. Their enduring legacies encompass philanthropy and music, representing a significant chapter in the cultural tapestry of the United States.
Who are Nicole Avant parents?
Nicole Avant, the author of the upcoming book "Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving through Grief with Grit, Grace, and Gratitude," is the daughter of Clarence and the late Jacqueline Avant. Her parents, Clarence and Jacqueline, played significant roles in their respective fields, with Jacqueline tragically passing away. The forthcoming memoir by Nicole Avant sheds light on the profound impact of her mother’s life and her own journey through grief.
How did avant come to forgive her mother’s killer?
Within the pages of her book, "Think You’ll Be Happy," Nicole Avant provides a heartfelt account of how she reached a place of forgiveness for her mother’s killer, who received three life terms in April 2022. Avant emphasizes, "When I say I forgive him, I do not condone anything about that night. Not his actions, nothing about that night do I condone." Her journey to forgiveness, as she narrates, is a complex and profound process that the memoir delves into.
Who is Nicole Avant’s husband Ted Sarandos?
Nicole Avant is married to Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix. In the midst of personal tragedy, her bond with Sarandos became an important source of support and strength. Together, they navigated the loss of her mother, Jacqueline Avant, who had shared more than five decades of life with Nicole’s surviving parent. This trying period prompted Avant to reflect on her own identity and the role she needed to play, as she would ask herself, "Nicole, who are you going to show up as?"
Who was Jacqueline avant?
Jacqueline Avant, as described by the author, was an 81-year-old philanthropist who tragically lost her life in December 2021. She was fatally shot in her Beverly Hills home by an intruder. In the upcoming book, which Nicole Avant characterizes as "part memoir" and "part guide," readers will gain insights into how the author coped with the devastating loss of her mother, Jacqueline. Nicole Avant, at the age of 55, shares how the process of creating the book provided solace during her mourning.