Born in Greensboro, NC; married to Jacqueline Avant; children: Nicole, Alex.
Managed Willie John, Jimmy Smith, Lalo Schifrin, Creed Taylor, and Tom Wilson, early 1960s; engineered first joint venture deal for an African American with a major record company (MGM), late 1960s; formed Sussex Records, 1971; became owner of KAGB-FM, 1970s; founded Tabu Records, 1975; served as delegate to the Dominican Republic, late 1970s; was member of the Trade Mission to the African Nations for United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young; helped guide the careers of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; helped Antonio "L.A." Reid and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds launch of LaFace Records, late 1980s; became chairman of Motown Records, 1993; became part of investment group for New Age Beverages, a partnership with PepsiCo in South Africa, 1994; co-investor of Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Hotel, Miami, FL, 1997; became first African American to serve on International Management Board of Polygram, 1997; serves as Resident Jamaican Trade Counsel.
In 1993 Avant was named chairman of Motown Records; in 1997, Avant and a group of other African American investors purchased the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Hotel in Miami.
Avant has been an active member of the Democratic party, both at the local and national levels. During the Carter administration, he was a delegate to the Dominican Republic and served as a member of the Trade Mission to the African Nations for United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young. During the 1990s, Avant played key roles in President Clinton's presidential campaigns and currently serves as Resident Jamaican Trade Counsel.