Clarence Avant, known to many in the record industry as the “Godfather of Black Music,” will be honored with the 2019 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons award during the annual pre-Grammys party next month in Los Angeles.
A former artist manager, label executive, radio broadcaster, music publisher and ongoing social activist/philanthropist, Avant will be feted for his groundbreaking contributions to the music industry.
“We are incredibly excited to honor Clarence Avant with this year’s Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Award,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the Recording Academy, which co-hosts the gala with Clive Davis. “His pioneering work in the industry has redefined what it means to be a leader and opened countless doors for musicians from all backgrounds.”
For several decades, Davis notes, Avant “has been the quintessential adviser to almost every successful African-American music executive and artist.” Avant “defined the term master mentor and definitely has played a vital role in music history.”
Avant will be celebrated during the gala on Feb. 9 at the Beverly Hilton on the eve of the 61st annual Grammy awards. It’s the latest trophy in a storied career, during which he has received a Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame Award, a BET Honors Entrepreneur Award, and induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008, the Recording Academy honored Avant with its Trustees Award.
Past recipients of the prestigious Icon award include Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss, Irving Azoff, Martin Bandier, Sir Richard Branson, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Lucian Grainge and last year’s honoree, Jay-Z.