“THE BEAUTY OF A WOMAN” BY AUDREY HEPBURN
The beauty of a woman
isn’t in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries,
or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman
must be seen from in her eyes;
Because that’s the doorway to her heart,
the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman
isn’t in a facial mole;
But true beauty in a woman,
is reflected by her soul.
It’s the caring that she cares to give,
the passion that she shows;
And the beauty of a woman
with passing years only grows.
Before she met and married iconic entertainment mogul Clarence Avant, she was Jacqueline Alberta Gray, a gorgeous fashion model who was among the first Black women to promote luxury European designers like Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Givenchy, and Jean Paul Gaultier in the 1960s.
Jacqueline was born in Jamacia Queens, New York in 1940, when Jamaica was a predominantly white neighborhood of German, Irish, and Italian immigrants.
She came from one of the very few Black families in Queens and by the time she was 20 had went to work as a hospital technician and phlebotomist, which is a key member of a healthcare team, responsible for with drawing blood from patients in addition to mastering clinical skills, offering comfort and reassurance to patients.
She caught the attention of the man who would become her husband and soulmate for 54 years while modeling for Ebony Fashion Fair, an annual fashion show and fundraising event created by Eunice Johnson of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, which traveled to 30 cities, focusing on Black neighborhoods.
Clarence revealed in the acclaimed Netflix biographical documentary ‘The Black Godfather’ that he initially did not want to get married, but encouraged by his mother wed Jacqueline and thus forming one of America’s most influential power couples.
Until Netflix riveting revelation of Clarence, few people outside the sphere of music and entertainment knew much about the man renowned as one of the shrewdest, savvy and most brilliant dealmakers ever known.
In an industry of snakes and sharks where talented Blacks artist and entertainers were manipulated and essentially robbed of their earnings until Clarence became the bridge to their ultimate success.
During the height and pitfall of his journey, the soothing and calming influence of Jacqueline was right there.
There isn’t anyone who met Clarence that did not meet Jacqueline who gave birth to their two children Alex and Nicole.
Both son and daughter are idealistic reflections of their mother’s generous persona, with an under belly steeling that only Clarence would provide.
Jacqueline lived to see Nicole appointed as United States Ambassador to the Bahamas from 2009 to 2011 by President Barack Obama.
She watched Alex take his own path by launching his own talent agency while be cast in the enormous shadow of his trailblazing father.
However, Jacqueline was a wife, mother, confidant and as we have since learned cheerful giver throughout her life.
Jacqueline Avant was the president of the Neighbors of Watts, which supports the South Central Community Child Care Center, and she also served on the board of the International Student Center at the UCLA. Moreover, she was entertainment chairman of the NOW benefit auction.
Jacqueline was a champion for the arts; she volunteered as a docent in the Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and sat on the board of The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and served two terms as the Board President of the Museum of African American Art of Los Angeles.
There were no stronger advocates of Black America than Clarence and Jacqueline Avant.
While most celebrities, politicians and civil rights advocates seek and relish the spotlight for any deed or accomplishment.
The Avant’s were the exact opposite. They cared less about who knew what they did, and instead focused on just doing good.
They were givers and not takers.
Movers and not shakers.
Jacqueline Avant is precisely who and what America needs during this enduring season of hate, debate and division.
I am perplexed as to why this sweet soul would be taken so cruelly.
[Smile and the world smiles with you.
Kick and you kick alone.
Thy cheerful grin will let you in
But the kicker is never known]