Clarence Avant, the music executive known to many as the “Black Godfather,” has died19, months after his wife was murdered in their L.A. area home.
The legendary businessman passed away at his home in L.A. on Sunday, according to a statement from his kids, Nicole and Alexander, as well as his son-in-law, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
They said Clarence is leaving behind “a long 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 started as a manager of a lounge in New Jersey in the 1950s, and was mentored in his early years by Joseph G. “Joe” Glaser — Louis Armstrong’s music manager.
He quickly became a pioneer in the world of music … managing countless singers and performers like Sixto Rodriguez, Bill Withers, and duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
He also founded 2 record labels in his time, Venture Records in 1967 and Sussex Records in 1969 and went on to launch the first African-American-owned FM radio station.
Clarence made moves in the industry for decades, brokering the sale of Stax Records, becoming chairman of the board of Motown Records, and getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was awarded an Industry Icon Award at the Grammys in 2019, the same year his Netflix documentary, “The Black Godfather,” debuted.
He married his wife, Jacqueline, in 1967 and TMZ broke the story, she was shot and killed in a burglary attempt at their L.A. home in 2021.
Clarence was 92.