The world of music and entertainment mourns the loss of Clarence Avant, a distinguished figure often hailed as the “Godfather of Black Music.” Avant, who was 92 years old, passed away peacefully in his Los Angeles residence on August 13, as confirmed by a statement from his family on August 14.
The family’s statement relayed through Variety, reads, “It is with a heavy heart that the Avant/Sarandos family announce the passing of Clarence Alexander Avant. 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.”
Avant’s legacy extends beyond his professional achievements, as he leaves behind a legacy of transformative influence on generations to come.
The music and entertainment world are deeply indebted to Clarence Avant’s immense contributions. A close confidant of Quincy Jones, Avant wielded his influence as an esteemed executive, notably beginning his journey as a nightclub owner. Under his leadership, record labels introduced the talents of Bill Withers, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and others to a global audience.
His collaborations extended to luminaries like Jimmy Smith, Lalo Schifrin, Babyface, Sixto Rodriguez, the SOS Band, and Cherelle. Avant’s role as a chairman of the board at Motown Records and his advisory roles to former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama further solidified his profound influence.
As news of his passing reverberates through the music community, heartfelt tributes have emerged from prominent figures. T.I., Questlove, and 9th Wonder have taken to social media to express their grief and honor Avant’s impactful legacy.
T.I. shared a poignant sentiment on Instagram, accompanied by an image of himself alongside the late music luminary. He wrote, “Maaaan, woke up this morning and couldn’t believe this news!! RIP to The Black Godfather Clarence Avant, thank you for all the wisdom you’ve shared and the path you paved for artists like myself.”
Questlove penned a heartfelt homage, reflecting on Avant’s enduring influence. He expressed, “I think in the present we SAY that achievements & reward$ are what will make us happy. But man if I can impact like 1/10th of the lives Clarence Avant did then my life on this plane wasn’t in vain.”