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Nicole Avant on Tragedy, Forgiveness, and Thinking Free

It was November 30, 2021, when Nicole Avant got a call in the middle of the night from her husband. The unthinkable had happened. Her otherwise healthy mom, Jacqueline Avant, was in…

It was November 30, 2021, when Nicole Avant got a call in the middle of the night from her husband. The unthinkable had happened. Her otherwise healthy mom, Jacqueline Avant, was in critical condition at the hospital. She had been shot.

Nicole would soon find out that her mother had been having an ordinary evening at her home in Beverly Hills when a man broke into her home in an attempted robbery. He shot Jacqueline, and then fled the scene.

She died later that night in the hospital. Jacqueline was 81.

It was an unspeakable tragedy that would leave most people paralyzed, enraged and probably seeking revenge. But Nicole’s response surprised a lot of people. She decided that she’s not a victim, and she would forgive her mother’s murderer. 

She shares this radical sentiment in her new book: “Think You'll be Happy: Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace, and Gratitude.”

For those unfamiliar with Nicole, she is someone who wears many hats. She served as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas under President Obama—and she was the first black woman to hold this seat. She's been a force in political fundraising. She raised more than half a million for President Obama in one night in 2012, and she was part of a fundraising team that raised $21 million for him in 2008. She's also a movie producer, which isn’t exactly surprising considering she was born into black Hollywood royalty—her father was Clarence Avant, the legendary music mogul who managed artists like Bill Withers, Sarah Vaughan, and Freddie Hubbard.

Today, she finds herself again a part of Hollywood royalty, just of more recent vintage. Her husband is Netflix Co-Ceo Ted Sarandos.

But unlike the British royals, Nicole Avant doesn’t put her views through a PR machine. She says what she thinks, and she doesn’t have time for bullshit. All of which is why we were so eager to have her on Honestly today. 

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