I worked with Clarence Avant at Motown Records in the late 90’s and can’t wait to see this movie!-Connie Breeze
The Netflix documentary “The Black Godfather,” traces the life and times of music business titan Clarence Avant.
Director Reginald Hudlin had a personal connection to the man Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris calls a ”kingmaker” since his early beginnings at Harvard University.
“One of my first jobs in Hollywood was developing a proposed movie that would have teamed up Janet Jackson with the Time,” Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were going to do the music, so of course Clarence was involved.”
“He met me at the airport, which I knew was a big deal since all my music business friends talked about Clarence like he was Zeus,” Hudlin continued. “Anyway, the movie never got made but I earned enough money writing the script to afford a computer, which back in those days cost as much as a car.“I wrote my first film, ‘House Party,’ on that computer, which changed my life,” he added.
Avant, now 88, has lived up to his friendly moniker of “The Black Godfather” with a career in music and entertainment that has spanned five decades.
The Climax, N.C., native grew up dirt poor in the Depression-era South but rose to become one of the most influential and powerful figures in pop music — discovering talent, running record companies, brokering deals and mentoring a generation of music executives and hit makers including Antonio “LA” Reid, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Sean “Diddy” Combs, among others.
There are also a seemingly endless stream of nuggets dropped about how Avant — who, himself, minces no words about life, family and business. He’s the man who helped put an end to Dick Clark’s ill-fated attempt at competing with Don Cornelius’ black-owned “Soul Train” series.