LOS ANGELES – Jacqueline Avant, wife of the music director known as “The Godfather of Black Music”, was shot and killed in the couple’s home early Wednesday.
Beverly Hills police responded to calls regarding a shooting at the home of Jacqueline and Clarence Avant around 2:23 p.m., according to a press release with the address. Police said the victim was taken to a nearby hospital by paramedics but did not survive.
A Netflix spokeswoman confirmed to NBC News that Jacqueline Avant was shot and killed. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is the son-in-law of Jacqueline Avant.
Potential suspects were not at the scene when officers arrived. A homicide investigation has been opened for the incident, Beverly Hills police said in a press release.
Jacqueline Avant, who once modeled at the Ebony Fashion Fair, married Clarence Avant in 1967, and the couple had two children together. Their daughter, Nicole Avant, credited her mother for helping keep her father in balance in the 2019 documentary “The Black Godfather.”
“Well, they’ve been married for 52 years, and my mother is truly the one who brought my father and our family the love and passion and importance of art and culture and entertainment,” Nicole said in the 2019 film. “While my father was in it and made all the appointments, my mother was the one who gave me, for example, my love of literature, my love of filmmaking, my love of storytelling.”
She called her mother the “umbrella” of Clarence Avant’s life.
Clarence Avant, who serves as manager, producer and mentor, has been credited as the influencer who helped start the careers of some of the most notable black musicians of all time, including Bill Withers.
Clarence Avant was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, with Lionel Richie giving a speech in his honor during the ceremony. Richie called him a “teacher” and “master communicator.”
“What he did for us, the sons and daughters of African American society, it was he who brought us to some understanding of what the music industry was all about,” Richie said.
Former President Barack Obama called Clarence Avant one of his favorite characters during a video tribute broadcast at last month’s ceremony.
“Clarence and others, they really are the bridge from a time when there was almost no opportunity to a time when doors began to open,” Obama said. “They led the way: in politics, in business, in the arts, by saying ‘no, make room for us’.”
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