For over a year, conservative news outlets have been accusing Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder and executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, of misusing the organization’s funds. She recently sat down with FOX SOUL’s Hollywood Unlocked with Jason Lee Uncensored to discuss the accusations.
Cullors said, “One of the critiques was that I bought a house, and I was so shocked Jason that, that was like a thing. I bought a house in Los Angeles, and it was 1.4 million dollars.” While that price tag may seem high to some, Cullors went on to explain, “that’s actually like a steal in Los Angeles.”
“The first sort of undercurrent was you all have all this money, and this really was coming from certain folks. You know, you all have this money, it needs to go to certain people.”
She continued, “Not necessarily people that I knew, some folks I did know but not necessarily people who are like the organizers but more like every day Black people being like ‘wait a second you got all this money like where’s it going?’ So that was like the first kind of conversation.”
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In April of 2021, a right wing think tank published property records showing Cullors’ real estate holdings, which allegedly included three homes in Southern California and a ranch in Georgia. The findings spread in right wing media, many of which insinuated Cullors had been profiting from the organization that raised a reported $90 million last year.
Patrisse Cullors denied all accusations, and BLM stated via its official Twitter handle, “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.”
In the interview with Lee, Cullors addressed critiques of her being financially successful and her role as a leader of the BLM movement, “I’m still thinking, I’m Patrisse from the 818 that people know. I’ve been doing this work forever. I didn’t think that it would be an actual upset that I bought a house, I did not think that. If I thought that, I would have done things differently.” Cullors continued, “one of my good friends, she said to me ‘I know you think you’re still a grassroots organizer, you’re not, you’re different now. That doesn’t mean you’re not a part of the movement, it doesn’t mean you don’t love Black people, but your relationship to who you used to be, that old person.’ I think I’ve had to really come to terms with that this last year and a half.”
Cullors went on to say, “I also think Black people who fight on behalf of Black people should get paid. I don’t think we should take an oath of poverty; I think that is a really slippery slope and I really think it impacts people's ability to be fulfilled Black people.”
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As for how the money that has been donated to BLM was used, Cullors explained, “What people don’t know is that we’ve had tons of conversations with people, we’ve sat with lots of families, we’ve sat with lots of organizations, we’ve done our due diligence and in fact we’re always in fact the commitment once that money came in was always to re grant a lot of it and to hold on to a lot of it too so that finally the global movement that we created the global network can be resourced. I think part of the issue, I’ll just say for me, is I wish that I would have more conversations on the front, and I assumed people knew me well enough that they would trust me.”
Watch Patrisse Cullors’ full interview with Jason Lee, here.