Former Bahamas Ambassador Nicole Avant on forgiving her mother’s killer
By LA Stories Staff Los Angeles
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Dec. 04, 2023
When former Bahamas Ambassador Nicole Avant woke up in the middle of the night in December 2021 to a flurry of text messages and missed calls, she didn’t know what to expect.
And then her husband, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, called and delivered the news that changed her life forever: Her mother, Jacqueline Avant, a well-known and loved philanthropist, had been shot in a home-invasion robbery.
Nicole Avant rushed to the hospital, where she was given the news that her mother had succumbed to her injuries. She recounts the ordeal in her new book, “Think You’ll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief With Grit, Grace, and Gratitude,” which she wrote to celebrate her mother’s life.
“With this terrible thing, what can I do with this energy to transmute it into some type of energy that will heal, inspire, restore, and bring some type of happiness and joy and inspiration to other people?” she asked. “That’s why I wrote everything down… to remind people that life is fragile and it’s a gift.”
On the latest episode of “LA Stories” with Giselle Fernandez, Nicole Avant opens up on the life and loss of not just her mother but her father, music mogul Clarence Avant, who passed away in August. Jacqueline Avant was known for her philanthropic work in Los Angeles, and she often helped Clarence Avant with his business deals. He was known as the Black Godfather, responsible for building the careers of some of music’s biggest names. The two were known for their impressive dinner parties, often hosting famous musicians, politicians and sports heroes in their home.
While saddened by the loss of her parents, Nicole Avant says she keeps their memory alive daily.
“I love nothing more than talking about them and talking about their lives and honoring their legacy because they were all about legacy,” she said, “What I loved and I learned from them is that they were very committed to making a difference together.
In the book, Nicole Avant shares stories from her mother’s life and opens up about their sometimes complicated relationship. She hopes that sharing her hardships, grief, and happiness can inspire others who may be going through something similar. Most importantly, Nicole has decided to forgive the man who took her mother’s life — in order to take back her own.
“I decided the greatest way I can honor her is not just to live, but to take the things that she taught me and do exactly what Jacquie would do,” she said. “Forgiveness was making sure that my power stayed with me.”