You most definitely heard of famous celebrities, like P. Diddy and Jay Z or Bill Withers and Janet Jackson. You may even think you know their inspirational stories, but there’s one person you most definitely haven’t heard. This man sits behind the curtain and at the deal-making tables, but never shows his face to a crowd. I only personally heard of him after watching his documentary, The Black Godfather. Musical artists, actors, television hosts and hostesses, and even presidents go to this man when they want something done, whether they want a better deal, or more money, he’s the man everyone goes to. Clarence Avant is the celebrities’ celebrity.
The first president to approach Avant was Bill Clinton. Avant was surprised that Clinton had come to him for help, but surely enough he helped Clinton become better allies with the black community. The second president to go to Avant was yours truly, Barack Obama. During 2007-2008, Obama was dwelling over the idea of running for president of the United States. He wasn’t sure how to get started in the process, but he knew that if you ever wanted to do something in the United States, “go to Avant.” And, so he did. Avant guided Obama in all the right directions, sat him down with all the right people, and taught him all the ins and outs. And so, Avant was essential to the Obama becoming president. But the country never knew that, no one did. And that is why Avant’s skills are so unique.
Avant was essential to the success of Motown Records and the many of artists that came from it. Musical artists such as Jay Z, Ludicrous, Bill Withers, Jamie Foxx, Janet Jackson, P. Diddy, etc., were all backed by Avant. Actors, Jackie Chan and Will Smith, etc., were also influenced and carried by Avant. Each artist has a different experience with Avant, but they all owe their careers to him.
Of all the people and things Avant did, not one person can remember him ever asking for money. This shows just how kind-hearted Avant was. He didn’t care who you were, he helped anyone and everyone and never asked for a dime. He especially helped the black community because he felt an obligation to the success of the community.
Alongside Avant’s unique skill to connect people and make deals, he is very passionate about civil rights. In his documentary, many of the celebrities that Avant helped mention that he would also make sure things were equal and fair, no matter what. Avant was key in organizing protests and demonstrations throughout his life.
If you want to watch an in-depth documentary about Clarence Avant’s life and the people whose lives he touched, then I highly suggest watching The Black God Father on Netflix. It interviews Avant and includes testimonies of all the people who he’s helped and all the things he’s done.