Clarence Avant Wiki – Clarence Avant Biography
Clarence Avant, the no-nonsense manager, entrepreneur, facilitator, and adviser who helped launch or guide the careers of Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, and countless others and became known as the “Black Godfather” of music and beyond, has died. He was 92 years old. Avant, a 2021 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, according to a family statement released Monday. Avant’s accomplishments were both public and behind the scenes, like a name in the credits, or a name behind names. Born in a segregated hospital in North Carolina, he became a man of lasting and far-reaching influence, in part by heeding two pieces of advice from one of his early mentors, music manager Joe Glaser: Never say how much you know, and ask questions. for as much money as possible, “without a stutter.” Sometimes called “The Godfather of Black Music,” he broke through as a manager in the 1950s, with clients including singers Sarah Vaughan and Little Willie John and composer Lalo Schifrin, who wrote the theme to “Mission: Impossible.”
In the 1970s, he was an early patron of black-owned radio stations, and in the 1990s, he ran Motown after founder Berry Gordy Jr. sold the company.He also founded record labels such as Sussex (a hybrid of Avant’s two passions: success and sex) and Tabu, with artists such as Withers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the S.O.S Band and an obscure singer-songwriter, Sixto Rodríguez, who decades later became famous through the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching for Sugarman.” (Rodriquez died last week.) Other works developed more calmly. Avant negotiated the sale of Stax Records to Gulf and Western in 1968, after being recruited by Stax executive Al Bell as a bridge between the business and entertainment industries. He raised money for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, helped Michael Jackson organize his first solo tour, and advised Narada Michael Walden, L.A. Reid and Babyface and other younger fans. “Everyone in this business has been by Clarence’s desk, if they’re smart,” Quincy Jones liked to say of him.
“Clarence leaves behind a loving family and a sea of friends and associates who have changed the world and will continue to change the world for generations to come. The joy of his legacy eases the pain of our loss,” said the statement, which was issued by Avant’s son Alex, her daughter Nicole and her husband, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.Avant’s influence extended to sports. He helped running back Jim Brown transition from football to acting and produced a primetime television special for Muhammad Ali. When baseball great Henry Aaron nearly surpassed Babe Ruth as the game’s home run champion in 1974, Avant made sure Aaron received the kind of lucrative business deals that are often hard for black athletes to achieve, beginning with a personal lawsuit to the president of Coca-Cola. Aaron would later tell The Undefeated that everything he had become was “because of Clarence Avant”. Avant met Jacqueline Gray, a model at the time, at an Ebony fashion show in the mid-1960s and married her in 1967. They married her. he had two children: producer and music manager Alexander Devore and Nicole Avant, a former US ambassador to the Bahamas and, along with Sarandos, a major fundraiser for Obama.
Clarence Avant Age
Clarence Avant was 92 years old.
In addition to his induction into Rock Hall, his honors included two honorary Grammy Awards, an NAACP Image Award, and a BET Entrepreneur Award. In 2021, Jacqueline Avant was murdered in her Beverly Hills home, Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson mourned her, among others. Nicole Avant would credit her mother, who became a noted philanthropist, for bringing Clarence Avant and other family members “the love, passion and importance of arts, culture and entertainment.” Born in 1931, Clarence Avant spent his early years in Greensboro. , North Carolina, one of eight children raised by a single mother, and he dropped out of high school to move north. A friend from North Carolina helped him find a job managing a salon in Newark, New Jersey, and he soon met Glaser, whose clients ranged from Louis Armstrong to Barbra Streisand, not to mention Al Capone. Through Glaser, Avant found himself in places where blacks had rarely been allowed.
“Mr. Glaser would make me go to these dog shows with him,” Avant told Variety in 2016. “And you have to imagine I was the only black person at the damn dog show. He also had these 16 seats behind the visiting dugout at Yankee Stadium, and whenever he’d take me I would try to walk to the back row, and he’d grab me and say, ‘Goddamn it, sit your ass up here with me.’”Avant became especially close to Jones, their bond formed through a missed record deal. It was the early 1960s, and Jones was a vice president at Mercury Records, one of the industry’s few Black executives. Avant was representing jazz musician Jimmy Smith and had heard that Mercury recently signed Dizzy Gillespie for $100,000. For Smith, Avant aimed much higher, closer to half a million.“Are you smoking Kool-Aid?” Jones would remember saying to Avant, who then negotiated with Verve Records.“He went and got the deal,” Jones, whose collaborations with Avant would include the TV series “Heart and Soul” and the feature film “Stalingrad,” told Billboard in 2006. “I respected him for that.”
As he rose in the entertainment industry, Avant became more active politically. He was an early supporter of Tom Bradley, the first Black mayor of Los Angeles, and served as executive producer of “Save the Children,” a 1973 documentary about a concert fundraiser for the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s “Operation PUSH.” Three years earlier, when he learned that the civil rights leader Andrew Young was running for Congress, in Georgia, he gave him a call.“He said, ‘In Georgia, you’re running for Congress?’” Young later told CNN. “He said, ‘Well, if you’re crazy enough to run, I’m crazy enough to help you.’”Avant, whom Young had never met, offered to bring in Isaac Hayes and other entertainers for a benefit and arrange for it to be held at the baseball stadium in Atlanta.Young had forgotten about their conversation when, a month later, signs promoting the show appeared around town.“We had about 30,000 people in the pouring down rain,” Young said. “And he never sent us a bill.”