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BLM Leaders Accused Of Buying $6 Million Home With Donated Funds

Photo: Jose Ivan Cazares | DFree | Shutterstock | Instagram
Melina Abdullah, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza

The leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement are coming under fire after being accused of using donations to purchase a $6 million luxury home in Southern California.

Reports of the purchase were first made by New York Magazine on Monday, after the organization had allegedly wanted to keep the property's existence a secret.

However, it didn't remain a secret for long after the three leaders of the BLM movement, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Melina Abdullah, recorded a YouTube video on the first anniversary of George Floyd's murder last summer, where they discussed their own racial-justice work and the difficulties of the past year.

While filming the video, the three women had been gathered on the patio of an expensive home in Southern California, eliciting responses of how they'd acquired the house seen behind them in the video.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah are now coming under fire over the home.

“I think they’ve attempted to cancel us, but they have not been successful in canceling us,” Abdullah said during the conversation, according to NY Magazine “They’ve attempted to say — and I’m just gonna say it — ‘She bought some damn houses. We gonna cancel her.’”

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Garza then interjected, seeming to address critics, “Y’all don’t know sh*t about what it takes to live in a box here.”

The house in question is reportedly 6,500 square feet, with more than half a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, several fireplaces, a soundstage, a pool and bungalow, and parking for more than 20 cars. The California estate had been purchased for nearly $6 million back in October 2020 with cash that had been donated to BLMGNF.

BLM board members have said the house is being used as part of the organization's efforts.

In an emailed statement to NY Magazine, Shalomyah Bowers, a BLMGNF board member, had described the purchase of the home as a means to serve as a Campus "with the intention for it to serve as housing and studio space for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship.” 

Bowers also clarified that the organization was never going to keep the purchase of the estate a secret for long, and that "purchasing property via private LLCs is customary in real estate as a way of protecting assets from litigation and liability."

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This isn't the first time that leaders of the BLM movement have been accused of using donations to purchase homes.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, back in April 2021, had been the victim of scrutiny after the New York Post reported on her purchase of four homes for $3 million, calling it a "buying binge."

Immediately after the article had been published, people on social media seemed to use the opportunity to suggest that Khan-Cullors had profited off of donations to the BLM organization, trying to discredit the work she's done since co-founding the movement.

According to the Associated Press, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation had taken in about $90 million in 2020, after the racial unrest caused by the police killings of both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

She also pointed out that she's had other jobs besides leading the BLM movement, including two book deals, in which one of them was a New York Times best-selling memoir, as well as the fact that she signed a production deal with Warner Brothers back in October 2020 “to develop scripted dramas and comedies, docuseries and animated programming for children, young adults and families," according to the LA Times.

There is no evidence to support the belief that Khan-Cullors used donations sent to the BLM organization during the nationwide protests in 2020 to purchase four homes, which was further made clear by Khan-Cullors herself.

“To be abundantly clear, as a registered 501c3, BLMGNF cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of my personal property,” she said in a statement.

“Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.”

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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