Music industry legend Clarence Avant, who was hailed as the “Godfather of Black Music,” has died at the age of 92.
Clarence transitioned on Sunday, August 14, at his home in Los Angeles.
His family released the following statement:
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.
Clarence Avant, born on February 25, 1931, is a trailblazing figure in the entertainment industry.
He has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of numerous artists and executives.
Clarence’s remarkable journey includes founding Sussex Records, managing prominent musicians like Bill Withers and Lalo Schifrin, and advocating for African American artists’ representation in the industry.
He was named Motown chairman in 1993 and four years later became the first African-American to serve on the International Management Board for PolyGram.
Avant was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021 and in 2019, was honored by the Recording Academy with the Grammy Salute to Industry Icons award.
Over the decades he also received a Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame Award, a BET Honors Entrepreneur Award, and induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2008, the Recording Academy honored Avant with its Trustees Award.
His activism and influence extend beyond music, as he has championed civil rights causes and fostered diversity in media.
His legacy as a visionary music executive and advocate for social change will continue to inspire generations.
Clarence Avant is predeceased by his wife, Jacqueline Avant, who was shot and killed during a home invasion robbery in 2021.
To learn more about Clarence Avant and his immeasurable contribution to the music industry, watch his Netflix documentary, “The Black Godfather.”
My sincerest condolences to the Avant family and all who knew, loved, and were inspired by Clarence.
May he rest in peace.