Jackie Avant, the wife to legendary music executive Clarence Avant, was shot and killed Wednesday in a home invasion robbery in Beverly Hills, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. She was 81.
Jackie and Clarence’s daughter, Nicole Avant, is married to Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos. A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the news to THR, adding that Clarence was not injured.
According to documents provided to THR by the Beverly Hills Police Department, its communications center received a call at 2:23 a.m. in response to a shooting on the 1100 block of Maytor Place. Upon arrival, police discovered a victim with a gunshot wound. Paramedics transported the victim to a local hospital, but the victim did not survive.
The report, which does not identify Jackie as the victim, confirms the suspect(s) were no longer on the scene when police arrived. Detectives are conducting an investigation, with Police Chief Mark G. Stainbrook expected to hold a news briefing later Wednesday to provide further details.
“The City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Police Department extends our deepest sympathies to the victim’s families,” BHPD Lt. Giovanni Trejo said in a statement provided to THR.
TMZ was the first to report the news.
Clarence Avant, 90, known as the “Godfather of Black Music,” is a pioneering dealmaker and Grammy-winning exec who has mentored and helped launch the careers of countless artists in the music and entertainment industries, including Little Willie John, Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, L.A. Reid and Babyface.
A manager, label owner, concert organizer and event producer, he created the first African American-owned FM radio station in metropolitan Los Angeles during the 1970s and founded Sussex Records in 1969 and Tabu Records in 1976 before becoming chair of Motown Records in 1993.
His life and legacy were chronicled on-screen in the 2019 Netflix doc The Black Godfather, which was produced by daughter Nicole and explored how Avant championed impressive deals for Black talent through the narrations of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg and more.
In May, he was announced as the recipient of the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The honor goes to nonperforming industry professionals who have had “a major influence on the creative development and growth of rock and roll and music that has impacted youth culture.”
Married in 1967 and together for more than 50 years, Jackie and Clarence have two children, former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole, 53, and Alexander Du Bois Avant, 50.
Born Jacqueline Alberta Gray, Jackie was a former Ebony Fashion Fair model known for her philanthropy. She served as president of the Neighbors of Watts, a support group for the South Central Community Child Care Center and as an entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction and NOW membership. She also served on the board of directors of the International Student Center at UCLA.
In an interview with NBCBLK around the release of her dad’s Netflix documentary, Nicole described her mother as a passionate person who fostered her love of the arts.
“My mom is really the one who brought to my father and our family the love and passion and importance of the arts and culture and entertainment,” she recalled. “While my father was in it, making all the deals, my mother was the one who gave me, for example, my love of literature, my love of filmmaking, my love of storytelling.”