LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  Producer Clarence Avant, winner NAACP Hall of Fame Image Award, poses for a portrait during the 41st NAACP Image awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on February 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for NAACP) *** Local Caption *** Clarence Avant

Clarence Avant

Known as the “Godfather of Black Music,” Clarence Avant is one of the most powerful and influential figures in the entertainment industry. Jumpstarting his career as a manager in Teddy P’s Lounge in Newark, NJ, during the 1950s, he climbed his way up the business ladder by managing the careers of some of the brightest musicians during that time (acts like Sarah Vaughn, Jimmy Smith and Tom Wilson). Avant later worked at Venture Records and eventually started his own label, Sussex Records, which housed artists like Bill Withers and guitarist Dennis Coffey. In 1976, he formed Tabu Productions where musicians such as The S.O.S Band, Alexander O’Neal and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis built their reputations. Avant is currently the president of several music publishing companies. Besides his success in the music world, the veteran executive has also been triumphant in the radio, film and web industries. With over 50 years in the business, the esteemed entrepreneur has been celebrated in various publications and by respected industry insiders. In February 2008, the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded Avant the Trustees Award and he will be recognized at the 2013 BET Honors.