Pharrell Pays Tribute to Clarence Avant on 'Letter To My Godfather' - Rolling Stone
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Pharrell Williams Pays Tribute to Clarence Avant on New Song ‘Letter To My Godfather’

Neptunes-penned track appears in Netflix documentary The Black Godfather

Pharrell Williams pays tribute to influential music executive Clarence Avant in the producer-singer’s new track “Letter to My Godfather,” a song from the Netflix documentary The Black Godfather.

“Clarence Avant connects us all through his incredible impact since before I was born up until now,” Williams said in a statement. “He’s the godfather to so many of us – and not just African Americans, most of the industry.”

“We have to love him now / While he’s still here / For all that he’s done / Before the moment disappears,” Williams sings on the track, which he co-wrote with his Neptunes cohort Chad Hugo. “When the darkness comes / He’s our chandelier / To bring the light.”

The Black Godfather, directed by Reginald Hudlin, hit Netflix and select theaters today. The film tells the story of Avant, who is credited with signing Bill Withers, launching Avant Garde Broadcasting and producing films like Save the Children. For his work in the industry, Avant was dubbed “the Godfather of Black Music.”

“Music. Power. Respect. Clarence Avant used them to empower people of all colors to change the world,” Netflix said of the documentary. “Witness the exceptional and unlikely rise of Clarence Avant, a music executive who influenced legends such as Bill Withers, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and so many more.”

As Obama said of Avant, “Clarence is the bridge from a time when there was no opportunity to a time when doors began to open.”

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