Clarence Avant, ‘Godfather of Black music’, Dies Aged 92

Clarence Avant known as “The Godfather of Black Music has passed away.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Avant/Sarandos family announce the passing of Clarence Alexander Avant,” said the statement announced by his children Nicole and Alexander as well as his son-in-law Ted Sarando.

“Thanks to his creative corporate leadership, Clarence attained the moniker of ‘The Black Godfather’ in the industries of music, entertainment, politics, and sports.

“Clarence leaves behind a devoted family, as well as a wide network of close friends and colleagues who have transformed the world and will do so for a very long time. His legacy brings happiness, which lessens the pain of our loss.

“Clarence passed away peacefully at home in Los Angeles” on Sunday, August 13, 2023.

Through his record companies, Clarence Avant, who started his career as a nightclub manager, exposed artists like Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis to the world and assisted in the sale of the storied Stax Records.

He was appointed board chairman at Motown Records in the 1990s, and he later served as PolyGram’s first African-American board member.

A mentor to a number of important players in the music industry, including LA Reid, Babyface, and Jimmy Iovine, he also served as an official and informal counselor to four US presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.

On October 7, he will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame after being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.

Jacqueline, Clarence’s wife, was shot dead during a robbery at their Beverly Hills, California, home two years ago. She was 81 years old.

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