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Clarence Avant, a prominent figure in the music industry, has died at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday at the age of 92, according to media reports. No cause of death was provided.

Avant, who was called the “Godfather of Black Music,” had an influential career in sports, politics and entertainment, working with U.S. presidents and Hall of Fame athletes, in addition to music.

His family said in a statement provided to Variety, “It is with a heavy heart that the Avant/Sarandos family announce the passing of Clarence Alexander Avant,” said the statement from his children, Nicole and Alexander and son-in-law Ted Sarandos. “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 joy of his legacy eases the sorrow of our loss. Clarence passed away gently at home in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 13, 2023.

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“Top artists and executives like Quincy Jones, JayZ, Whitney Houston, Pharell Williams, Lionel Richie, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Sean Combs, L.A. Reid, Suzanne de Passe, Kenny ‘Baby Face’ Edmonds, Jon Platt, Irving Azoff, Snoop Dogg Reginald Hudland, Benny Medina and Queen Latifah all credit Avant for his inspiration and guidance,” the family statement said.

Also see: 3 life terms for killer of Jacqueline Avant in Beverly Hills

Avant was a nightclub manager, and was the manager for Lalo Schifrin and Jimmy Smith in the 1960s. He founded two record labels, and help guide the careers of Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.

He became the chairman of the board of Motown Records in the 1990s and was the first African-American board member of PolyGram.

He launched the first fully Black-owned radio stations in Los Angeles and was a consultant to MGM and ABC in the 1970s.

He was an advisor and worked in official capacity for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama.

Avant was credited with persuading Jim Brown to launch an acting career after a successful NFL career, and served as a mentor to music figures, L.A. Reid and Baby Face, Sylvia Rhone, Jheryl Busby and Jimmy Iovine.


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