Manitoba

Music community mourns death of Jacquie Black, longtime manager of Indigenous Music Awards

Jacquie Black, an Indigenous storyteller and well-respected figure in Manitoba’s music industry, died Wednesday morning. 

Black was passionate about championing aspiring musicians, artists, friends and family say

Jacquie Black worked in the entertainment industry for many years. She passed away Wednesday. (Submitted by Mary Black)

Jacquie Black, an Indigenous storyteller and well-respected figure in Manitoba's music industry, died Wednesday morning. 

Black filled many roles in the music, film and television industry for many years, and also worked as a journalist. 

She was the manager of the Indigenous Music Awards for several years, which is held as part of the Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg each year. She was also the director and writer for the TV series TAKEN, which delves into the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

Black was in her 50s when she passed. Her niece, Mary Black, says she had been in the hospital for about a week and a half with a pre-existing health condition, but her health deteriorated rapidly over the weekend. 

"She was fiercely protective and showed me so much power and compassion and gave me many, many of the gifts that I have today," Mary said. 

Jacquie Black (right) with her niece, Mary. (Submitted by Mary Black)

Mary said her aunt was fiercely passionate about championing aspiring artists and musicians, especially through her work with the Indigenous Music Awards. She said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for Jacquie after the news of her death became public. 

"It gives me a lot of inspiration and a lot of passion, I guess, to fight for what is right to help anybody that I can whenever I can, because I see now firsthand how many people's lives she impacted, right?" she said. 

"And those are big shoes to fill."

Jacquie's passing comes just a day after the death of Vince Fontaine, a renowned musician from Sagkeeng First Nation who fronted the Juno-nominated group Indian City.

Just one day before he died, Fontaine had recorded a song, "Star People," with fellow musician Jeremy Koz to send to Jacquie while she was in the hospital. 

The song is about life and death, and leaving this earth for the stars, Koz said. 

"Jacquie was so supportive of the arts community and supportive of us, especially. And I just thought that, you know, it'd be nice to send her something musical," Koz said. 

Jacquie wasn't able to speak in the final days of her life, but the song seemed to make her happy, her niece said. 

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said Jacquie was a true mentor to many whose spirit will be missed. 

"Her passion for ensuring the voices of Indigenous women were heard and taken seriously in the film, radio and TV industry will be sorrily missed as will her involvement in the various First Nation cultural events across this county," he wrote in a news release. 

A sacred fire for Jacquie Black is burning on Woodbine Avenue until Saturday night.

Corrections

  • We initially reported that Jacquie Black died on Tuesday. In fact, she died Wednesday.
    Jan 13, 2022 8:29 AM CT

With files from Jillian Taylor and Aviva Jacob

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