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Clarence Avant, 'Black Godfather' of Entertainment and Philanthropist, Passes Away

Clarence Avant, the influential "Black Godfather" of music and entertainment, has died at the age of 92. Avant helped launch the careers of Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, and many others. He was known for his behind-the-scenes work as a manager, adviser, and facilitator in the industry. Avant's legacy extends beyond music, as he also made significant contributions to sports and politics. His family released a statement expressing their sorrow over his loss and celebrating the impact he had on the world.

Clarence Avant, a highly influential figure in the music industry, known as the "Black Godfather," has passed away at the age of 92. Avant's impact was felt both publicly and behind the scenes, as he played a pivotal role in launching and guiding the careers of artists such as Quincy Jones and Bill Withers. His career spanned decades and encompassed various roles, including manager, entrepreneur, facilitator, and adviser.

Avant's journey began in a segregated hospital in North Carolina, but he rose above the limitations imposed by society to become a figure of lasting influence. He credited his success to two key pieces of advice from his mentor, Joe Glaser: never reveal the extent of your knowledge and always ask for as much money as possible without hesitation. These principles guided Avant throughout his career, as he managed artists like Sarah Vaughan, Little Willie John, and composer Lalo Schifrin.

In the 1970s, Avant became a patron of Black-owned radio stations and later took over as the head of Motown. He also founded labels such as Sussex and Tabu, working with artists like Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the S.O.S Band, and Sixto Rodriguez, who gained fame through the documentary "Searching for Sugarman." Avant's impact extended beyond the music industry, as he brokered the sale of Stax Records and played a role in the careers of Michael Jackson, Narada Michael Walden, L.A. Reid, and Babyface.

Avant's influence even reached the world of sports, where he helped football player Jim Brown transition into acting and produced a television special for Muhammad Ali. When baseball legend Henry Aaron was on the verge of breaking Babe Ruth's home run record, Avant ensured that Aaron received lucrative commercial deals, which were often elusive for Black athletes. Aaron credited Avant with shaping his career and everything he had become.

Avant's personal life was marked by tragedy when his wife, Jacqueline Avant, was murdered in 2021. Despite this loss, Avant's legacy lives on through his children, including music producer-manager Alexander Devore and Nicole Avant, a former US ambassador and a prominent philanthropist. Avant's numerous accolades include induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, two honorary Grammys, an NAACP Image Award, and a BET entrepreneur award.

Clarence Avant's story is one of resilience, determination, and breaking barriers. He rose from humble beginnings to become a trailblazer in the music industry and beyond. His impact on the careers of countless artists, his contributions to the civil rights movement, and his ability to bridge the gap between entertainment and business industries have left an indelible mark on the world. Clarence Avant's legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

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