The Recording Academy™ and Clive Davis will present the annual Pre-GRAMMY® Gala on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at The Beverly Hilton, the evening preceding the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards®. As part of the celebration, Clarence Avant will be recognized as the 2019 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons® honoree for his groundbreaking contributions to the music industry.

Sponsored by Delta, Hilton, JBL by Harman, IBM, and Mastercard, the invitation-only Pre-GRAMMY Gala has long been one of the music industry’s most prestigious events, having hosted the industry’s top leaders and welcomed the world’s most talented artists to its stage. For the past decade, the gala has also included a presentation to honor industry luminaries through the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Award. Past recipients include Herb Alpert & Jerry Moss, Irving Azoff, Martin Bandier, Sir Richard Branson, Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy, Lucian Grainge, Debra L. Lee, Doug Morris, Mo Ostin, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

“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. “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 Clarence Avant has been the quintessential adviser to almost every successful African-American music executive and artist,” said Clive Davis, co-host of the Pre-GRAMMY Gala. “He defined the term master mentor and definitely has played a vital role in music history.”

Known as the Godfather of Black Music, Clarence Avant is one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry. Avant began his incredible career as a manager in Teddy P’s Lounge in Newark, New Jersey, during the 1950s, which led to him managing the careers of some of the most talented musicians during that time, including Sarah Vaughn, Freda Payne, Jimmy Smith, and Lalo Schifrin. Avant later worked at Venture Records and eventually started his own label, Sussex Records, which housed artists such as Bill Withers and guitarist Dennis Coffey. In 1976, he launched Tabu Productions, where artists such as the S.O.S Band, Alexander O’Neal, Cherrelle, and many more built their reputations. Avant continued on the artist management side as well, working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Kenneth “Babyface Edmonds,” and L.A. Reid. With more than 50 years in the business, the esteemed entrepreneur has been celebrated in various publications and by respected industry insiders. He has also received many professional accolades and awards, including a Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, an NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame Award, a BET Honors Entrepreneur Award, and many more. In 2008, the Recording Academy awarded Avant its Trustees Award.