Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was one of the athletes who mourned the passing of Music executive and businessman Clarence Avant, sharing on Instagram that Avant was a groundbreaking force helping countless entertainers and politicians, but his greatest legacy was being a great husband, father, and humanitarian.
Avant, an influential figure in music, sports, politics, business, and entertainment, died last Sunday at 92 at his home in Los Angeles, according to his family. The cause of death was not specified.
Nicknamed the “Black Godfather,” Avant helped the careers of multiple generations of musicians, entertainers, athletes, and politicians by connecting them to places they would benefit the most.
The statement by his children, Nicole and Alex Avant, and son-in-law Ted Sarandos, said that through their father’s revolutionary business leadership, Avant became affectionately known as “The Black Godfather” in the worlds of music, entertainment, politics, and sports.
Avant was the promoter for Michael Jackson’s first solo tour and the chairman of Motown Records. He helped the careers of music producers such as Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and P. Diddy.
He also advised several former US presidents, such as Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Obama.
“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 statement added.
Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said they are forever grateful for Avant’s friendship and wise counsel.
Former president Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said it was impossible to spend time with Avant and not come away feeling more positive and wanting to follow his example.
Avant was inducted by Lionel Richie to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021.
Clarence Avant’s influence extends to sports
The North Carolina-born figure’s reach transcended to sports. When legendary NFL running back Jim Brown retired at the peak of his football career to pursue acting, Avant opened the doors for him with the transition.
Avant also helped baseball great Hank Aaron by ensuring he would have the attention he deserved as he broke Babe Ruth’s all-time MLB home run record in 1974, striking commercial deals that were elusive for black athletes.
“Without Clarence Avant, there is no Hank Aaron,” the baseball great said in Avant’s Netflix documentary, “The Black Godfather.” He also produced a primetime television special for boxer Muhammad Ali.
NBA and Los Angeles Lakers icon Magic Johnson also gave his tribute to the renowned figure, saying that his accomplishments speak for themselves while sharing personal stories of his interaction with Avant, including when he advised Johnson many times when he first got into business.