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Pharrell Williams never dreamed he’d write a song for Clarence Avant, The Black Godfather


NetflixNetflix film The Black Godfather, about famed music executive Clarence Avant, was named Best Documentary of the Year by the African-American Film Critic Film Association on Tuesday. For Pharrell Williams, who recorded an award-winning song for the film, it’s a fitting tribute for one of the most powerful black men in entertainment.

“Clarence Avant is known as the Black Godfather because literally as a black man, he was able to do things that were godfather-like,” the 13-time Grammy winner says in a behind-the-scenes feature. “From the music industry to sports industry, activism to politics. The crazy thing is, I never dreamed that I would end up doing a song for him.”

Pharrell’s song, “Letter to My Godfather,” recently won the Hollywood Song Award at the Hollywood Film Awards.

Avant, who founded Tabu Records, is considered one of the most influential African-American music executives ever, having been an invaluable adviser and deal maker for numerous artists. Among the artists who recorded for his label: Alexander O’NealCherrelle, and the SOS Band.

Avant also launched Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ prolific producing careers, and his influence spread to sports, film, television, politics and social activism. 

Jam and Lewis, along with Quincy JonesLionel RichieBabyface and Diddy, are among the stars paying homage to Avant in The Black Godfather, as well as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

The Black Godfather is now streaming on Netflix.

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