Watch The Black Godfather
- 1 hr 58 min
The Black Godfather, a documentary film released in 2019, is a remarkable tribute to the life and legacy of Clarence Avant, one of the most significant and influential figures in the entertainment industry. Through a series of interviews conducted with some of the biggest names in music, politics, and sports, the film tells the story of Avant's remarkable rise from a small-town boy in North Carolina to become a kingmaker in Hollywood. The movie opens with a quote from Quincy Jones, one of the many luminaries who credit Avant with shaping their careers: "Clarence Avant is the bridge between Miles Davis and Michael Jackson." The film goes on to illustrate just how true this statement is, as we see Avant's impact across every sector of the entertainment industry, from his early days as a nightclub owner and producer to his tenure as the head of Motown Records. Throughout The Black Godfather, we see Avant's fingerprints on some of the biggest moments and movements of the past 50 years. He is credited with helping to integrate the music industry, introducing pop music to African American audiences and vice versa. He is also shown to have played an instrumental role in the election of Presidents Clinton and Obama, using his connections and influence to help galvanize support for these candidates. The film is full of powerful interviews, including conversations with Bill Clinton, Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx, and many others. These interviewees help to paint a rich and vivid portrait of Avant as a man who has never shied away from speaking his mind, making difficult decisions, and fighting for what he believes in. His resilience in the face of adversity, his ability to navigate complex political, social, and cultural landscapes, and his relentless drive to succeed are all on full display in this documentary. One of the most fascinating aspects of The Black Godfather is its exploration of the intersection between race and power in the entertainment industry. Avant is shown to have been a trailblazer, using his position of influence to push for greater diversity and representation on screen and behind the scenes. His work in this area paved the way for generations of black artists and executives to follow in his footsteps, and his impact is still being felt today. The film also offers a frank assessment of Avant's personal life, including his difficulties with addiction and his ongoing struggle to balance his career with his family life. These moments of vulnerability help to humanize the documentary's subject and make it clear that, despite his superhuman abilities in the boardroom, Avant is first and foremost a man. In terms of its technical merits, The Black Godfather is a masterclass in documentary filmmaking. Director Reginald Hudlin expertly weaves together interviews, archival footage, and expertly curated music to create a cinematic experience that is as engaging as it is informative. His use of split-screen and other visual techniques helps to keep the film visually interesting, while his judicious use of slow-motion and other stylistic flourishes gives the movie an unmistakable sense of energy and momentum. Overall, The Black Godfather is a must-watch documentary for anyone with an interest in the intersection of politics and entertainment. It is a celebration of a man who has had a profound influence on American culture, and it is sure to inspire viewers to pursue their own dreams and ambitions with the same level of tenacity and vision that Clarence Avant has demonstrated throughout his extraordinary life.