Music executive Clarence Avant has passed away at the age of 92.
Avant, also known as The Black Godfather, died at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, his family have confirmed.
“Through his revolutionary business leadership, Clarence became affectionately known as ‘the Black Godfather’ in the worlds of music, entertainment, politics, and sports,” read the statement from his children, Nicole and Alexander, and son-in-law, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
“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 joy of his legacy eases the sorrow of our loss.”
The North Carolina native began his career as a New York-based manager. He later negotiated the sale of Stax Records in the 1960s and notably discovered and signed the now iconic Ain’t No Sunshine hitmaker Bill Withers.
The music executive then founded KAGB-FM (Avant Garde Broadcasting), one of the earliest Black-owned radio stations in the U.S.
The businessman also launched two record companies, Sussex and Tabu, both of which have managed a number of acclaimed musicians, and was appointed chairman of the board of Motown Records in the ’90s.
Avant was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, and was honoured by the Recording Academy with the prestigious Grammy Salute to Industry Icons award in 2019.
Additionally, Avant was the subject of the 2019 Netflix documentary, The Black Godfather, which documented his barrier-breaking career and impressive achievements.
The music industry legend is survived by his daughter, Nicole, 55, and son, Alexander, 52. He shared his children with his late wife Jacqueline Avant, to whom he was married from 1967 until she was fatally shot in their Beverly Hills home in 2021.
– Cover Media