Known simply as “The Godfather of Black Music,” former music executive Clarence Avant will receive the Grammy Salute to Industry Icon award at the 2019 Pre-Grammy Gala hosted by Clive Davis. Clive Davis hosts this Pre-Grammy Gala every year and makes it his point to acknowledge individuals who have made a significant contribution to the music industry. Few people can deny that Avant has done just that. In fact, without his genius, some of your favorite artists would not have had a platform to showcase their gifts.

For more than 50-years, Avant has made significant contributions to Black music and paved the wave for many to follow. Known as a solidified master negotiator, Avant began his career in Newark, New Jersey during the 1950s. He managed the likes of Sarah Vaughn, Freda Payne, organist Jimmy Smith, and composer Lalo Schifrin.

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Avant would go on to launch his own label Sussex Records, which launched the career of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bill Withers and guitarist Dennis Coffey. In 1976, Avant founded Tabu Productions, giving a platform to artists such as the S.O.S Band, Alexander O’Neal, and Cherrelle. Through Tabu, Avant helped to introduce Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and singer-songwriter duo Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and L.A. Reid.


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Clearly impressed by Avant’s impact on Black music, Davis remarked, “For several decades Clarence Avant has been the quintessential adviser to almost every successful African-American music executive and artist. He defined the term master mentor and definitely has played a vital role in music history.”

The Pre-Grammy Gala will take place Feb. 9 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on the eve of the 61st annual Grammy Awards.

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