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Clarence Avant, ‘Godfather of Black Music’ and benefactor of athletes and politicians, dies at 92

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NEW YORK — The wise manager, businessman, facilitator, and consultant Clarence Avant, who launched or shaped the careers of Quincy Jones, Bill Withers, and many others and became known as “The Godfather of Black Music,” has passed away. He was 92.

A family announcement on Monday morning stated that Avant, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, passed away on Sunday at his Los Angeles home.

As a name in the credits or a name behind the names, Avant’s accomplishments were visible and unnoticed. He was raised by a mentor who was a music manager named Joe Glaser and was born in a segregated hospital in North Carolina. Joe Glaser gave him two pieces of advice: never reveal how much you know and ask for as much money as possible “without stuttering.”

He made his management debut in the 1950s, working with artists including Little Willie John, Sarah Vaughan, and composer Lalo Schifrin, who created the theme song for “Mission: Impossible.” He was an early supporter of Black-owned radio stations in the 1970s, and after Berry Gordy Jr. sold the business in the 1990s, he became the head of Motown.

Additionally, he founded the labels Sussex (a cross between two Avant-garde passions: success and sex), Tabu, and the S.O.S Band, as well as working with obscure singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriquez, who would later go on to become well-known thanks to the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching for Sugarman.”

Other work was done more quietly. In 1968, Avant, who Stax CEO Al Bell had chosen to serve as a link between the entertainment and business worlds, facilitated the sale of Stax Records to Gulf and Western. He helped Michael Jackson plan his first solo tour, raised money for Bill Clinton and Obama, and advised Babyface, L.A. Reid, Narada Michael Walden, and other younger followers.

If they’re clever, everyone in this profession has visited Clarence’s desk, as Quincy Jones loved to say.

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The wise manager, businessman, facilitator, and consultant Clarence Avant has died. He was 92.

“Clarence leaves behind a devoted family and a large network of friends and colleagues who have transformed the world and will do so for a long time. The joy of his legacy lessens the pain of our loss, according to the statement made by Avant’s son Alex, daughter Nicole, and her husband, Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix.

Avant also impacted sports. He produced a primetime television special for Muhammad Ali and assisted running back Jim Brown in moving from football to acting. When Babe Ruth’s record for most home runs in a season was about to be broken by baseball legend Henry Aaron in 1974, Avant ensured that Aaron secured the kind of rich commercial deals frequently out of reach for Black athletes. He started by making a direct request to the Coca-Cola president.

Aaron would later claim to have become everything he was “because of Clarence Avant” in an interview with The Undefeated.

At an Ebony Fashion Fair in the middle of the 1960s, Avant met model Jacqueline Grey, with whom he later married. They had two kids: Nicole Avant, a former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas and, along with Sarandos, a significant Obama fundraiser, and music producer-manager Alexander Devore. In addition to being inducted into the Rock Hall, he was given two honorary Grammy Awards, an NAACP Image Award, and a BET Entrepreneur Award.

Jacqueline Avant was assassinated in their Beverly Hills home in 2021, and among those who mourned her passing were Magic Johnson and Bill Clinton. Nicole Avant would say that her mother, a well-known philanthropist, was responsible for instilling in Clarence Avant and the rest of the family “the love and passion and importance of the arts, culture, and entertainment.”

avant

The wise manager, businessman, facilitator, and consultant Clarence Avant has died. He was 92.

Clarence Avant was born in 1931 and spent his formative years in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was one of eight children raised by a single mother there, and he left high school early to come up north. He managed a lounge in Newark, New Jersey, with the assistance of a buddy from North Carolina, and soon met Glaser, whose patrons included Al Capone, Barbra Streisand, Louis Armstrong, and more. Avant was given access to locations where Black people had previously been rarely allowed, thanks to Glaser.

“Mr. Glaser would have me go with him to these dog shows,” Avant remarked to Variety in 2016. You must also consider that I was the only Black person present at the goddamn dog show. When he took me to a game at Yankee Stadium, he had 16 tickets behind the home dugout. Whenever I tried to go to the back row, he would grab me and shout, “Goddamn it, sit your ass up here with me.”

Avant and Jones were particularly close due to a lost record contract. Jones, one of the few Black executives in the business, was a vice president of Mercury Records in the early 1960s. Jimmy Smith, a jazz artist represented by Avant, had recently been signed by Mercury for $100,000. Avant set a far greater goal for Smith, closer to 500,000.

Do you consume Kool-Aid? Jones would recall telling Avant, who was negotiating with Verve Records at the time.

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The wise manager, businessman, facilitator, and consultant Clarence Avant has died. He was 92.

According to Jones, who worked with Avant on the TV show “Heart and Soul” and the motion picture “Stalingrad,” “he went and got the deal,” Billboard reported in 2006. I admired him for doing that.

As he progressed in the entertainment business, Avant became increasingly politically involved. He was the executive producer of “Save the Children,” a 1973 documentary about a musical fundraiser for the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s “Operation PUSH.” He was an early supporter of Tom Bradley, the first Black mayor of Los Angeles. When the civil rights activist Andrew Young was running for Congress in Georgia three years prior, he called him.

“He asked, “You’re running for Congress in Georgia?” Later, Young spoke to CNN. If you’re insane enough to run, then I’m crazy enough to help you, he declared.

Young had never met Avant, who volunteered to organize a charity event with Isaac Hayes and other performers at the Atlanta baseball stadium.

When advertisements for the performance started popping up all over town a month later, Young had forgotten about their talk.

Young estimated that 30,000 people attended despite the torrential downpour. And he never gave us a bill, either.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Why Brits Adore Kate Middleton and Question Meghan

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Kate Middleton, Meghan

The British royal family has long been a source of fascination and intrigue for people worldwide. In recent years, the spotlight has shone brightly on two prominent figures: Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. These two women have captured the public’s attention differently, with Kate often seen as the epitome of traditional grace and charm, while Meghan is viewed as more modern and unconventional.

As we delve into why Brits seem to love Kate Middleton and harbour negative feelings towards Meghan, it’s important to understand the nuances that shape public perception. Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has embraced her role within the royal family, exuding a sense of time-honoured elegance that resonates with many Brits. On the other hand, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has been perceived as a more outspoken and independent figure, challenging the traditional norms of the monarchy.

By exploring the reasons behind these contrasting sentiments, we aim to unravel the complexities of public opinion towards the two duchesses. From their backgrounds to their approaches to royal duties, each woman brings a unique perspective to the royal family dynamic. Join us on this journey as we dissect the factors contributing to the love for Kate and the less favourable attitudes toward Meghan within British society.

Royal Family Dynamics

The British royal family holds a unique position in society, blending tradition with modernity in a delicate dance that captivates the public’s attention. The historical significance of the monarchy is undeniable, with its centuries-old traditions shaping public opinion and influencing media coverage. Understanding the dynamics within the royal family is key to comprehending why certain members, like Kate and Meghan, evoke differing reactions from the British public.

Tradition vs. Modernity

The royal family represents a blend of timeless traditions and the pressure to adapt to modern expectations. Kate Middleton embodies traditional values, seamlessly integrating into the royal protocol with grace and sophistication.

In contrast, Meghan Markle brought fresh air to the monarchy, challenging conventions with her modern approach to royal duties. This stark difference in their assimilation into the royal lifestyle sets the stage for contrasting perceptions among the British populace.

Media Portrayal

The media plays a pivotal role in shaping public perception of the royal family members, often crafting narratives that influence how the masses view individuals. Kate’s portrayal in the media has been largely positive, portraying her as a devoted wife and mother who upholds traditional values.

On the other hand, Meghan faced intense scrutiny and negative press, with headlines often focusing on her perceived defiance of royal norms. The impact of media bias on the public’s perception of Kate and Meghan underscores the power dynamics at play within the royal family.

Intriguingly, the interplay between tradition and modernity, coupled with media representation, offers a glimpse into the complexities of the royal family dynamics. As the saga unfolds, the contrasting receptions of Kate and Meghan shed light on the intricacies of royal life in the public eye.

Kate Middleton: The People’s Duchess

Kate Middleton’s British upbringing and relatable persona have played a significant role in endearing her to the British public. Growing up in England, Kate’s roots resonate with many, creating a sense of familiarity and connection with the people. Her down-to-earth nature and approachable demeanour have made her a beloved figure, genuinely and authentically bridging the gap between royalty and the public.

British Roots and Relatability

Kate Middleton’s background as a commoner who transitioned into royalty gives her a unique appeal to the British public. Her relatability stems from her modest beginnings, allowing many to see a bit of themselves in her journey. This relatability creates a sense of closeness and understanding that transcends societal barriers, making Kate feel like a friend rather than an unapproachable figure on a pedestal.

Graceful Conduct and Traditional Values

Known for her poise and elegance, Kate Middleton embodies grace in her conduct as a royal family member. Her adherence to royal protocols and commitment to upholding traditional values have earned her respect and admiration from traditionalists. By embracing the customs and traditions of the monarchy, Kate has demonstrated her dedication to preserving the heritage and legacy of the British royal family, strengthening her bond with those who value tradition and history.

Kate Middleton’s ability to blend her modern sensibilities with a deep respect for royal traditions has positioned her as a modern-day duchess with a timeless charm. Her graceful conduct and traditional values reflect her integrity and serve as a beacon of stability and continuity in a rapidly changing world. By staying true to herself while honouring the legacy of the monarchy, Kate has captured the hearts of the British public and solidified her place as the People’s Duchess.

Meghan Markle: The Controversial Duchess

Meghan Markle’s journey into the royal family brought a touch of American flair and modernization, contrasting with the traditional norms of the British monarchy. Her progressive views and unapologetic approach have often clashed with established royal protocols, creating controversies and stirring mixed reactions across British society.

American Influence and Modernization

Meghan’s American background has injected a fresh perspective into the royal fold, challenging age-old customs and pushing for more inclusive practices. Her advocacy for gender equality, racial justice, and social change has been met with admiration and scepticism. Some segments of British society have struggled to adapt to her outspoken nature, perceiving it as a departure from the reserved demeanour expected of royals.

Media Scrutiny and Tabloid Criticism

Since her relationship with Prince Harry became public, Meghan Markle has been under relentless media scrutiny, with tabloids often portraying her negatively. The press coverage intensified as she transitioned into royal life, amplifying the criticisms and spreading sensationalized stories that fueled public scepticism. The constant barrage of negative narratives has deepened the divide between Meghan and certain factions of the British public, shaping the perceptions surrounding her in the UK.

In the intricate tapestry of royal life, Meghan Markle’s presence has been a source of fascination and friction, embodying a blend of tradition and modernity that continues to captivate and polarize audiences worldwide.

Public Perception and Cultural Factors

The public perception of royals like Kate and Meghan in Britain is intrinsically tied to cultural factors that shape how they are viewed by society. Let’s explore how these factors influence the contrasting attitudes towards the two duchesses.

Class Divide and Social Traditions

In British society, the class system and entrenched social traditions significantly shape public opinion of royals. With her middle-class background and familiar upbringing, Kate often embodies the traditional image of a royal consort that many Brits can relate to.

On the other hand, Meghan, with her mixed-race heritage and American upbringing, challenges the norms and traditions of the royal family, leading to a more polarized view among the public. The divide between Kate and Meghan reflects deeper societal divisions around class, race, and cultural identities, influencing how the British public perceives each duchess.

Gender Roles and Feminist Discourse

The scrutiny faced by Kate and Meghan also extends to gender roles and feminist discourse. Through a traditional, patriarchal lens, Kate is often portrayed as the epitome of grace and duty, adhering to age-old expectations of royal women.

In contrast, Meghan’s assertiveness, independence, and outspoken nature have been met with admiration and criticism, sparking conversations about gender equality and feminism. The differing treatment of Kate and Meghan sheds light on evolving attitudes towards women in the public eye, with Meghan challenging stereotypes and pushing boundaries in ways that resonate with modern audiences.

By delving into the complexities of class distinctions, social traditions, gender roles, and feminist discourse, we can better understand the multifaceted layers of public perception surrounding Kate and Meghan in British society. These cultural influences shape how the two duchesses are perceived and reflect broader societal shifts and ongoing conversations about identity, tradition, and progress.

Future of Royal Popularity

The Royal Family stands at a pivotal juncture in its journey, seeking to adapt to the changing winds of modernity while upholding traditional values that have long defined the monarchy’s identity. As public scrutiny intensifies and expectations evolve, it becomes increasingly crucial for the royals to navigate these challenges with finesse and foresight. Here, we delve into strategies that could shape the future of royal popularity, ensuring relevance and resonance with contemporary audiences.

Adaptation and Unity

In a world marked by diversity and rapid change, the Royal Family must embrace a proactive approach to remain relevant and embraced by the people. The royals can bridge the gap between tradition and modernity by fostering unity within the family and demonstrating inclusivity in their engagements. Embracing societal shifts and cultural diversity can help the royals connect with a broader audience, ensuring that their image resonates with the values of a changing society.

Media Responsibility and Ethical Reporting

The media is pivotal in shaping public opinion about the royals, influencing perceptions and narratives that can make or break reputations. Journalists and media outlets must exercise ethical reporting practices, promoting fairness, balance, and accuracy in their coverage of royal events. By holding the media accountable for portraying royal family members, the narrative can shift towards a more nuanced and respectful depiction, fostering a healthier relationship between the monarchy and the public.

As the Royal Family navigates the complexities of modernity and media scrutiny, embracing adaptation, unity, and responsible reporting can pave the way for a future where their image remains strong and relevant in an ever-changing societal landscape. By staying true to their values while embracing evolution, the royals can ensure that public support endures, securing their relevance for future generations.

Conclusion

In wrapping up, it’s clear that the British public’s adoration of Kate Middleton and their disdain for Meghan Markle stem from a complex interplay of tradition, tabloid scrutiny, and societal expectations. Kate is seen as the epitome of grace and duty, embodying the traditional values that many Brits hold dear. On the other hand, Meghan’s outspoken nature and boundary-pushing ways have ruffled feathers and challenged the status quo, leading to a more polarizing reception.

This stark contrast in public perception not only shapes the royal family’s dynamics but also reflects broader societal norms and attitudes towards women in the public eye. How Kate and Meghan are portrayed and received sheds light on the deeply ingrained biases and expectations placed on women, especially those who dare to challenge conventions. As we dissect the reasons behind the love for Kate and the hate for Meghan, it’s essential to consider the implications for the royal family and society.

By Geff Thomas

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Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

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NEW YORK — Iris Apfel, a textile expert, interior designer, and fashion celebrity renowned for her unique style, has died. She was 102.

Lori Sale, Apfel’s business agent, confirmed her death and described her as “extraordinary.” No cause of death was specified. It was also confirmed on her verified Instagram page on Friday, a day after she celebrated her 102nd and a half birthday on Leap Day.

Apfel, born on August 29, 1921, was known for her irreverent, eye-catching costumes that combined haute couture with huge costume jewellery. A traditional Apfel ensemble would include a feather boa, strands of chunky beads, bangles, and a jacket embellished with Native American beadwork.

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Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

With her large, round, black-rimmed glasses, bright red lipstick, and short white hair, she stood out at every fashion event she attended.

Her style has been the focus of museum exhibits and the documentary film “Iris,” directed by Albert Maysles.

“I’m not pretty, and I’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter,” she commented at one point. “I’ve got something far better. “I have style.”

Apfel achieved late-life stardom on social media, accumulating nearly 3 million followers on Instagram, where her profile reads: “More is more & Less is a bore.” She gained 215,000 TikTok followers as she waxed eloquent about fashion and style and promoted previous collaborations.

“Being stylish and being fashionable are two entirely different things,” she stated in a TikTok video. “You can simply buy your way to being fashionable. I believe you have a natural sense of style. It denotes inventiveness and boldness.”

She never retired, saying “Today” that “I believe retiring at any age is a fate worse than death.” Just because a number appears does not mean you have to stop.

“Working with her was an honour of a lifetime.” “I shall miss her regular calls, always greeted with the usual question: “What have you got for me today?,” Sale said in a statement. “A testament to her voracious drive to work. She was a visionary in every sense of the term. She observed the world through a unique lens equipped with massive, unusual spectacles perched on her nose.”

Apfel was an expert in textiles and ancient fabrics. She and her husband Carl ran Old World Weavers, a textile manufacturing company specializing in restoration work, including projects at the White House for six U.S. residents. Apfel’s celebrity clients included Estee Lauder and Greta Garbo.

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Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

Apfel’s celebrity skyrocketed in 2005 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City staged a show about her called “Rara Avis,” Latin for “rare bird.” The museum characterized her approach as “both witty and exuberantly idiosyncratic.”

Her individuality is generally seen in her mingling of high and low fashions—Dior haute couture with flea market finds, 19th-century church vestments with Dolce & Gabbana lizard trousers.” According to the museum, her “layered combinations” broke “aesthetic conventions” and “even at their most extreme and baroque” showed a “boldly graphic modernity.”

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, was among several museums nationwide that held a touring version of the display. Apfel later donated hundreds of pieces to the Peabody, including couture gowns, to help them establish what she described as “a fabulous fashion collection.” The Museum of Fashion & Lifestyle, located near Apfel’s winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, also plans a gallery to display artefacts from her collection.

Apfel was born in New York City to Samuel and Sadye Barrel. Her mother owned a store.

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Iris Apfel, Fashion Icon Known For Her Eye-Catching Style, Dies At 102

In her later years, Apfel appeared in advertisements for M.M.A.C. Cosmetics and Kate Spade, contributing to her reputation. She also created a line of accessories and jewellery for Home Shopping Network, worked with H&M on a collection of brightly coloured apparel, jewellery, and shoes that sold out in minutes, launched a makeup line with Ciaté London, an eyeglass collection with Zenni, and collaborated with Ruggable on floor coverings.

In a 2017 interview with APA.P.t the age of 95, she claimed her favourite modern designers were Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo, and Naeem Khan, but added, “I have so much, I don’t go looking.” When asked for fashion tips, she replied, “Everyone should find her own way. I’m a strong advocate for individualism. I don’t like trends. If you learn who you are, what you look like, and what you are capable of, you will know what to do.”

She dubbed herself the “accidental icon,” which inspired the title of a book she published in 2018, replete with keepsakes and style ideas. Odes to Apfel abound, ranging from a Barbie in her likeness to T-shirts, eyewear, artwork, and dolls.

Apfel’s husband died in 2015. They had no children.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

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Some of the world’s most powerful people have travelled to India’s Gujarat state to attend a wedding reception hosted by Asia’s richest man.

Mark Zuckerberg, Rihanna, and Bill Gates were guests at Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani’s pre-wedding extravaganza for his son.

Anant Ambani, 28, plans to marry Radhika Merchant in July.

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Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

Bollywood celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan also attend the three-day festival in Jamnagar.

According to Forbes, Mukesh Ambani, 66, is currently the world’s 10th richest man, with a net worth of $115 billion. His father started Reliance Industries in 1966, a vast conglomerate that works in various industries, including refining, retail, financial services, and communications.

Anant Ambani is the youngest of his three children, serving on the Reliance Industries board. The 28-year-old is involved with Reliance’s energy companies and serves on the board of the Reliance Foundation.

The grandiose pre-wedding event coincides with the Ambani family’s history of staging lavish wedding celebrations.

2018 Beyoncé performed at Mr Ambani’s daughter Isha Ambani’s pre-wedding celebrations in Udaipur. Former US Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry attended the event.

A Bloomberg report at the time claimed sources who estimated the cost of Isha’s wedding at $100 million; however, a “person close to the family” contradicted this and stated that the bill was around $15 million.

The present festivities began earlier this week with an occasion in which the Ambani family gave food to the locals in Jamnagar.

There are about 1,200 guests attending the pre-wedding party in a township close to Reliance’s main oil refinery in Jamnagar.

ambani

Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

Reuters says the guest list includes Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kumar Mangalam Birla. Disney CEO Bob Iger is also likely to attend the party just days after his business announced the merger of its India holdings with those of Reliance.

Zuckerberg, who is on a busy Asia trip, arrived in Jamnagar on Thursday. Bill Gates, who came to India a few days ago, had previously shared a video of himself drinking tea brewed by a local vendor, which went viral.

Other notable arrivals on Friday include cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo and BP CEO Murray Auchincloss.

Other attendees set to attend the Ambani event include BlackRock co-founder Larry Fink, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, former Canadian PM Stephen Harper, former Australian PM Kevin Rudd, and Ivanka Trump.

ambani

Anant Ambani: World’s Rich In India For Tycoon Son’s Pre-Wedding Gala

“The guest list appears to have more RSVPs from global corporate titans than the weddings of Mr Ambani’s two older children in 2018 and 2019, underscoring Reliance’s growing clout and role as a conduit to the Indian economy for global tech, media and energy giants,” the report said.

Rihanna and illusionist David Blaine are among the performers scheduled to appear.

Guests are also slated to visit a rescue centre in Jamnagar, which houses around 2,000 animals. According to a planning document seen by Reuters, the dress code for this visit is “jungle fever”.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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