There is the old saying that “real bad boys move in silence” this clearly depicts the man whose successful lifestyle was told in the film The Black Godfather; Clarence Avant
Clarence Avant is a trailblazer in the entertainment industry, a reliable adviser to powerful executives and a social crusader. Though largely unknown in the immediate scene, Clarence is a powerhouse who defined what the rhythm should be for the courageously talented African American.
Significantly, Clarence Avant was born in abject poverty in South Carolina in the United States of America at a time when there was little or no opportunities for the African American in that segregated zone. With a demeaning domestic violence from his step father, Clarence Avant finished 9th grade and had to leave home to face life.
From doing meaner jobs Clarence Avant found courage to fan his dreams and excelled as the power behind very many successful personalities in the world public space, a rainmaker in music, film, TV and politics. Clarence is the invisible drummer that influenced all the drums. Clarence was honoured with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame on October 7, 2016.
According to the director of the movie The Black Godfather Reginald Hudlin, “Here’s a guy who is involved in everything you know and don’t know, that you love or care about, from the music you listen to, to politicians you’re voting for, and athletes you cheer, but you really don’t know who he is,” Hudlin states “Clarence rejected the idea that fame and power went hand in hand’, little wonder Clarence remained largely unknown on scenes and for long refused to publish his stories after being approached by many including Hudlin till his daughter Nicole brought the brilliant idea of a film documentary.
The film documentary directed by Reginald Hudlin took three years and about 75 interviews from men of varying professions who gave daring insights of who Clarence is to their success stories.
The icons who bear the stamps of his legacy and influence who ripped his business smarts and ideas include two former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, business executives like Andre Harrell, David Gelfen and late billionaire oil Mogul Alhaji Saleh Jambo. In entertainment industry there are the likes of Bill Withers, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, L.A Reid and Kenneth, Jon Platt, Quincy Jones, Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, Powerhouse Sean Diddy Combs, Rap icon Ludacris to mention a few. Even the iconic athletes like Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Jim Brown, Clarence was right everywhere proving that there is power in vision and affirming the humanity of a black man.
He exhumed bravery and had no fear walking to the powerful and big executives to offer advises,even unsolicited thus waving big influence without fanning his fame. Alhaji Sadiq Jambo, an ambassador of a prestigious non-governmental organization in Nigeria, Prince Osisioma Foundation who is a friend to the family of Clarence has stated unequivocally that people like Clarence are too rare to find. They come once is a millennium.
In the documentary Barack Obama says of Clarence ” there is power that needs the spotlight but there is also power that comes from being behind the scenes” and thus attributes to Clarence part of credit to the success that announced him to the Democrats. Bill Clinton will rightly say “Avant is very tough, very tough”. To Jim Brown, Clarence is…”an African American man in Hollywood that was defying what Hollywood was supposed to be” Clarence, the mentor of icons believes life is counted in numbers but speaking to the Guardian, Hudlin said “we tried to do the math of what he is done, the opportunities he has generated – we could not figure it out. It is too complicated, the number would be too high”
This inspiring documentary according Hudlin need not to be left behind in the American history and in mentorship as Clarence clearing is a rallying point in world. Inspiring hope and growing courageous men. No one who comes across Clarence or the documentary will be left without burning desire to excel. Hudlin have met persons who watched the film saying ” I need to reassess how I am living my own life or I ‘ve got to work harder, be more generous”
On why he never got tired working on the documentary for 3 years and interviewing about 75 icons, the BET former President and filmmaker, Hudlin has this to say; “So many powerful people saying amazing insights. Combing through all that materials figuring out the story was definitely a challenge. A lot of times, I would ask people about the same stories because I wanted to hear all these stories from different perspectives, mainly because some of these stories are so unbelievable you have to hear it from multiple sources to confirm that they are true”.
Behind every successful man, there’s a woman. Such is the story of Clarence whose wife Jacqueline Avant is class act of a wife. Clarence Avant has 2 lovely children, Nicole and Alex (@iamAlexavant) Avant . Alex gave us a raw emotional outlook on the father/son relationship. The movie ‘THE BLACK GODFATHER’ can be watched only on NETFLIX. Clarence Avant is the Godfather deserving a place of honour in our history, truly THE BLACK GODFATHER
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