BLM founder Patrisse Cullors’ $1.4M home draws criticism, call for investigation

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York chair Hawk Newsome questions how much Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has contributed to charity.

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The head of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York is calling for an investigation into Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors over million-dollar real estate purchases she’s made in recent years.

Cullors, 37, has reportedly purchased four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the U.S. alone, per New York Post, including property in a Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles County for $1.4 million.

Patrisse Cullors attends last February’s Frieze Project Artist Patrisse Cullors x Summit x Cultured Magazine Dinner at The West Hollywood EDITION. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for The West Hollywood EDITION)

BLM reportedly brought in $90 million in donations last year, and questions have emerged about if or how Cullors is paid by the organization and how much she has contributed to charity, per Daily Mail. Hawk Newsome, the head of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, is calling for a probe into Cullors’ finances.

“If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes,” he told the Post. “It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement and overlook the fact that it’s the people that carry this movement,” he continued.

Newsome’s organization, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York — which he represents during television appearances and interviews — is not affiliated with Black Lives Matter Global Network, which was co-founded by Cullors along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

Read More: Mike Brown’s father, Ferguson organizers request $20M from BLM

In a statement provided to theGrio, Black Lives Matter Global Network responded to concerns regarding Cullors’ earnings from the organization.

“Patrisse Cullors is the Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF). She serves in this role in a volunteer capacity and does not receive a salary or benefits. Patrisse has received a total of $120,000 since the organization’s inception in 2013, for duties such as serving as spokesperson and engaging in political education work. Patrisse did not receive any compensation after 2019,” BLM Global Network said in the statement.  

Patrisse Cullors speaks on stage at the Teen Vogue Summit 2019 at Goya Studios on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

“To be abundantly clear, as a registered 501c3, BLMGNF cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer. Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false. 

The statement continues: “Patrisse’s work for Black people over the years has made her and others who align with the fight for Black liberation targets of racist violence. The narratives being spread about Patrisse have been generated by right-wing forces intent on reducing the support and influence of a movement that is larger than any one organization. This right-wing offensive not only puts Patrisse, her child and her loved ones in harm’s way, it also continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists. All Black activists know the fear these malicious and serious actions are meant to instill: the fear of being silenced, the trauma of being targeted, the torture of feeling one’s family is exposed to danger just for speaking out against unjust systems. We have seen this tactic of terror time and again, but our movement will not be silenced.” 

In addition to the Topanga Canyon estate, Cullors and her wife, Janaya Khan, also own a “custom ranch” on 3.2 acres in Conyers, Georgia that boasts an airplane hangar. They purchased the property last year for $415,000, according to the report, two years after the publication of Cullors’ best-selling book, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.”

Additionally, the Post claims that in recent years, Cullors, a self-described Marxist, paid $510,000 for a three-bedroom home in Inglewood, California. In 2018, she dropped $590,000 for a four-bedroom home in South L.A.

Last October, Cullors agreed to “a multi-platform” deal with Warner Bros. Television Group, she said in a statement, to help produce content for “Black voices who have been historically marginalized.”

The Post report sparked debate on social media among BLM supporters and critics of Cullors. 

Read More: Devale Ellis pens children’s book on #BLM: ‘It’s my life’s journey’

Cullors founded the Black Lives Matter movement with Garza and Tometi in 2013. Last month, the organization came under fire after it was revealed that BLM received over $90 million in response to the uprisings launched after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, theGRIO reported.

Some activists are now demanding $20 million from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, including Michael Brown Sr., whose son Michael Brown Jr., was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. 

Michael Brown Sr. stands as an honor guard enters during the dedication of a new community empowerment center Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Read More: Tensions erupt near Minneapolis after police kill 20-year-old Duante Wright

Brown Sr. said he and his advocacy group have been short-changed by the larger BLM organization. 

“Why hasn’t my family’s foundation received any assistance from the movement?” he asked in a statement last month. 

“On behalf of many activists in the St. Louis area, I’m joined by Mike Brown Sr., the father of Mike Brown Jr. Today, we hold Black Lives Matter accountable,” said local community organizer Tony Russell

theGRIO’s DeMicia Inman contributed to this report. 

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