Bossip Video

Clarence Avant has died at the age of 92.

Clarence Avant

Source: Clarence Avant / Clarence Avant

Avant, known widely as the “Godfather” of Black music, died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, according to a statement from his family provided to BOSSIP. No cause of death was listed.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Avant/Sarandos family announce the passing of Clarence Alexander Avant,” a statement from his family reads. “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 continues: “The joy of his legacy eases the sorrow of our loss.  Clarence passed away gently at home in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 13, 2023. He was 92.”

After starting his career as a nightclub manager, Avant spent the 1960s managing the likes of Lalo Schifrin and Jimmy Smith, according to his official bio sent to BOSSIP. He went on to found two record labels, through which he introduced the world Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. He went on to become chairman of the board of Motown Records and subsequently the first African-American board member at PolyGram.

He launched one of the first fully Black-owned radio stations, also taking a stand in defense of Black culture as a consultant to MGM and ABC in the 1970s. He also served as an advisor, official and otherwise, to Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, the bio adds.

Avant was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Lionel Richie in 2021, was awarded the Industry Icon Award at the Grammys, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Bossip Comment Policy
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.