Organization’s leader allegedly has bought four homes worth about $3.2 million
By Ray Richardson
LOS ANGELES — Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors is facing harsh criticism in some circles for her alleged purchase of four upscale homes totaling a reported $3.2 million, including three in the Los Angeles area within the past five years, according to media reports.
The alleged purchases have fueled widespread concerns over how Khan-Cullors and the social justice organization is using donations from corporations and wealthy contributors.
In a 2020 interview with Associated Press, Khan-Cullors said donations to Black Lives Matter in 2020 reached $90 million.
Hawk Newsome, head of BLM Greater New York City, is calling for an “independent investigation” to look into Khan-Cullors’ handling of finances for BLM’s national operation.
“If you go around calling yourself a socialist, you have to ask how much of her own personal money is going to charitable causes,” Newsome said of Khan-Cullors in an interview last week with the New York Post. “It’s really sad because it makes people doubt the validity of the movement.”
Neither Khan-Cullors nor officials with BLM Los Angeles were available for comment.
Jason Whitlock, a well-known sports journalist who has worked at ESPN and Fox Sports Network, had his Twitter account suspended after criticizing Khan-Cullors for buying a home in Topanga Canyon, “where she chose one of the whitest places in California to live.”
According to data reported in the New York Post, 88% of residents in Topanga County are white. Khan-Cullors, 37, paid a reported $1.4 million in March to buy the home, which is located in an exclusive area between Malibu and Los Angeles.
The New York Post also reported that Khan-Cullors, who grew up in Los Angeles’ Van Nuys neighborhood, bought a $510,000 home in Inglewood in 2016, a $590,000 property in South L.A. in 2018 and a $415,000 home in Conyers, Ga., in 2020.
Khan-Cullors defended herself earlier this week on her Instagram page and blamed the criticism on “efforts to discredit me and harass me and my family.”
“This movement began as, and will always remain, a love letter to Black people,” Khan-Cullors wrote on her Instagram page. “Black Lives Matter serves as a reminder to Black people that we are human and deserve to live vibrant and full lives.”
BLM’s national operation issued a statement this week on its Twitter page in support of Khan-Cullors, echoing her beliefs that the criticism is part of “right-wing forces intent on reducing the influence of the movement.”
“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 work,” BLM’s statement said. “Patrisse did not receive any compensation after 2019.
“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.”
Khan-Cullors rose to prominence in 2013 when she organized a group of protestors condemning the acquittal of then-security guard George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
Martin’s death helped ignite a nationwide and worldwide movement against police brutality and the fight for social justice.
Ray Richardson is a contributing writer for The Wave. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.