- Film And TV
- 14 Aug 23
The iconic record label head helped the careers of artists such as Quincy Jones, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Whitney Houston and many others. No cause of death was cited in an announcement posted by his family on Monday.
American label head Clarence Avant, who has been admiringly named "The Godfather of Black Entertainment" after a lifetime of lifting the careers of black music artists, died in his home at age 92 on Monday.
A statement on the lauded label head was given by his family. "It is with a heavy heart that the Avant/Sarandos family announce the passing of Clarence Alexander Avant," it read. "Through his revolutionary business leadership, Clarence became affectionately known as ‘The Black Godfather’ in the worlds of music, entertainment, politics, and sports.
"Clarence leaves behind a loving family and a sea of friends and associates that have changed the world and will continue to change the world for generations to come," the statement continued. "The joy of his legacy eases the sorrow of our loss."
Avant was well-known in the industry for his far-reaching influence and ability to uplift the careers of some of the most celebrated Black artists of the time.
It's hard to describe the sheer number of accomplishments he achieved throughout his own career: he founded two record labels and signed the likes of Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. He helped sell the legendary Stax Records, was chairman of the board at Motown Records, and was the first African American board member at PolyGram. He even served as a cultural consultant for multiple American presidents, from President Jimmy Carter to President Barack Obama.
But Avant is perhaps most well-known for uplifting the careers and voices of some of the most prolific and influential black artists of his time. Quincy Jones was a lifelong friend of Avant's, and he put the nature of Avant's reputation succinctly: "Everyone in our business has been by Clarence's desk, if they're smart." He has been called a significant mentor by the likes of Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, and Whitney Houston, amongst countless others.
In 2019, Netflix made a documentary called 'The Black Godfather' in which they detailed Avant's life and career. You can watch the trailer below.
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) May 23, 2019
- Film And TV
- 30 Nov 23