Paul Ernest Butler (1969- )

Paul Ernest Butler Courtesy of
Paul Ernest Butler
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Expert business developer, entertainment legal advisor, and strategist Paul Ernest Butler was born on March 31, 1969, and has lived most of his life in Atlanta, Georgia. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Interdepartmental Studies (African American Studies) from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, in 1991, where he was the co-winner of the Seth H. and Harriet S. Terry Prize for his contributions to the life and character of the undergraduate community. In addition, Butler earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1994.

Butler moved to New York to work with Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company founded by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actor-musician-producer Queen Latifah and film producer Shakim Compere. In 2006, Butler joined GMC, formerly Gospel Music TV, as vice president of business affairs and development and was promoted to senior vice president/general counsel.

In 2006 Butler also became an executive at Viacom, where he was specifically responsible for VH1, serving at various times as director, program enterprises and business development and senior counsel, music programming and products. In these positions, he worked on business development for the music channel and negotiated distribution and marketing deals for VH1’s consumer products business. Because of his work at VHI, Butler in 2009 and again in 2011, was named by Cable Fax as one of the “Most Influential Minorities in Cable.”

From 2012 to 2015, Butler was the first General Manager of Aspire, the new television network in Atlanta, Georgia, celebrating the contributions of African Americans. The network includes but is not limited to documentaries, short films, and specials in the Fine and Lively Arts to create more opportunities for African Americans to pursue careers in television. “Changemakers,” a new series about successful African American celebrities, is an example of Butler’s work with Aspire. Butler oversaw programing operations, reporting directly to Earvin Johnson, former L.A. Lakers point guard who is chairman of Aspire’s Board of Directors. While there he grew the organization’s distribution to over 20 million households by guaranteeing important distribution agreements.

From 2015 to 2021 Butler was the chief operating officer of Sparks & Honey, an Omnicom-owned cultural intelligence technology-based consultancy in New York City. In 2021, Butler became president and first-ever chief transformation officer of New America. This non-partisan think tank emphasizes national security studies, democracy, land and housing, family political reform, health, gender, energy, equity, education, and the future of Washington, DC.

In 2022, Butler was appointed a Director at the London-based Next 15. He has also been Board Chair of The Brotherhood Sister Sol, a nonprofit, Black-led social justice organization.