“He wasn’t there, but he was right there.”
That’s the consensus of Clarence Avant, the legendary music executive known for his behind-the-scenes accomplishments and influence in black entertainment. Avant is also the subject of The Black Godfather, the new Netflix documentary premiering June 7.
Through interviews with the icons he helped shape—including former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, Jamie Foxx, and Lionel Richie—the film chronicles the cultural impact of the man deemed the “Godfather of Black Music.” This includes his experience in the Jim Crow south, which he left to become a powerhouse negotiator who redefined the industry for people of color.
“Clarence is the bridge from a time when there was no opportunity to a time when doors began to open,” Obama says.
The Black Godfather is directed by Reginald Hudlin, with Nicole Avant, Byron Phillips, Nelson George and Caitrin Rogers producing. It premieres June 7 on Netflix.