Clarence Avant is one of the music business’s most legendary executives. Mentored by Joe Glaser, the longtime manager of Louis Armstrong, Avant has been in the business since the 1950s, managing Sarah Vaughan, R&B singer Little Willie John and others, before he became a powerhouse at Venture and Sussex Records, signing Bill Withers and more while his own a broadcasting company and producing films like Paramount’s Save the Children.
Avant is the subject of a new Netflix documentary The Black Godfather, which is going to be released on Netflix and in select theaters on June 7th. The film will how capture how Avant, “Driven by a sense of equality, loyalty, and justice, [left] the Jim Crow south behind to emerge as a powerhouse negotiator at a time when deep-seated racism penetrated every corner of America. Avant defied notions of what a black executive could do, redefining the industry for entertainers and executives of color and leaving a legacy of altruism for others to emulate.”
The film was directed by Academy Award nominee Reginald Hudlin and features interviews with Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Bill Withers, Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, Lionel Richie, Cicely Tyson, Suzanne de Passe and more. Says Obama in the trailer: “Clarence is the bridge from a time when there was no opportunity to a time when doors began to open.”