'Black Godfather' Clarence Avant dead at 92

Clarence Avant has died credit:Bang Showbiz
Clarence Avant has died credit:Bang Showbiz

Clarence Avant has died.

The legendary producer - who was affectionately known as the 'Black Godfather' for his work in the entertainment, sport, and political words - passed away at home in Los Angeles on Sunday (13.08.23) at the age of 92, his family have confirmed.

His children, Nicole and Alexander, and son-in-law Ted Sarando announced in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that the Avant/Sarandos family announce the passing of Clarence Alexander Avant.

“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.”

Clarence - who began his career as a nightclub manager - introduced the likes of Bill Withers, Sixto Rodriguez and Jimmy Jam + Terry Lewis to the world through his record labels, and helped broker the sale of the legendary Stax Records.

In the 1990s, he became chairman of the board at Motown Records and later was PolyGram's first African-American board member.

He also served as an advisor, both officially and unofficially, to four US presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, and was a mentor to a string of key figures in the music world, including LA Reid, Babyface and Jimmy Iovine.

He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, and will be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 7 October.

Two years ago, Clarence's wife Jacqueline was fatally shot aged 81 during a robbery at their home in Beverly Hills, California.