Was Clarence Avant the Music Industry’s Most Powerful Player?

Clarence Avant’s strength is probably excellent, but it’s also usually been relatively quiet—until now. Known typically for his work as a tuned executive, he has helped release the careers of stars like Janet Jackson and Bill Withers, and his imprint has been throughout the black way of life, from film to politics and sports. Still, his impact has regularly been exerted behind the curtain, making him a discern who moved without difficulty among worlds, brokering deals and putting the proper humans together.

A new Netflix documentary, The Black Godfather, strains this net of strength, displaying how Avant became the center of every predominant moment in twentieth-century black popular culture. With appearances from song superstars like Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones, Hollywood legends like Cicely Tyson, or even Presidents Obama and Clinton, the movie—which changed into produced with the aid of Avant’s daughter Nicole, the previous U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas—tells the tale of an effective, yet a largely unknown man.

Born in 1931 in North Carolina, Avant moved to New Jersey as a youngster, running as a shop clerk. By the Nineteen Fifties, he turned to running at a lounge and met Joe Glaser, who managed Louis Armstrong. Avant became enamored with the tuning industry, eventually taking up clients like the jazz singer Sarah Vaughn.

Was Clarence Avant the Music Industry's Most Powerful Player? 1

By the Nineteen Sixties, Avant was under global pressure in the black tune. He launched one of the first utterly black-owned radio stations, helped dealer the sale of the mythical Stax Records, and served as a consultant to MGM and ABC within the 1970s, ensuring black artists got better deals. In the 1990s, he became chairman of the board of Motown Records. He even helped set up artists—he was responsible for Michael Jackson’s 1987 Bad promotional posters.

Avant has also been an energetic political fundraiser for Democratic candidates— Barack Obama even credited Avant with getting him into the 2004 Democratic Convention primetime slot, which catapulted him to the national spotlight. Bill Clinton sought Avant’s advice, too, as did Al Sharpton.

The Black Godfather is not centered most effectively on achievements from manner returned when however. Avant, now 88, has been revered as a celebrity on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and acquired the Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Award this year. With that in thoughts, we would not be surprised if the following factor on his plate became a sequel.

Duane Simpson

Internet fan. Zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Alcohol enthusiast. Spent several months exporting UFOs in Jacksonville, FL. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting gravy in Tampa, FL. Spent 2001-2004 implementing saliva in Edison, NJ. Had moderate success getting my feet wet with junk food on Wall Street. Practiced in the art of building Virgin Mary figurines in Tampa, FL. Practiced in the art of marketing Roombas in Phoenix, AZ.

Related Articles

Back to top button