This story connects the pieces with what was going on at Black Lives Matter as its leaders went Hollywood and began transitioning the organization to some sort of influencer Instagram hub for “creators of joy”.
Last year I wrote an article, BLM Goes Hollywood that covered the connections between the leadership and the entertainment industry. A former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (The Golden Globes) was canceled for sending around the article resulting in an organizational boycott and purge.
Now here’s New York Magazine digging into where BLM’s money was really going as it was going Hollywood.
On a sunny day late last spring, three leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement — Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Melina Abdullah — sat around a table on the patio of an expensive house in Southern California. The women were recording a YouTube video to mark the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, and they discussed their racial-justice work and the difficulties they had faced over the year.
Melina Abdullah may not be as famous a name as the big three, but she’s the LA arm and a key link between BLM and Farrakhan. She was also a key figure in the LA BLM pogrom that led to attacks on synagogues and Jews in the area.
None of the women acknowledged the house behind them. It’s far from a box, with more than 6,500 square feet, more than half a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, several fireplaces, a soundstage, a pool and bungalow, and parking for more than 20 cars, according to real-estate listings. The California property was purchased for nearly $6 million in cash in October 2020 with money that had been donated to BLMGNF.
BLM went the usual crybully route of trying to spin it as an act of defiance through “joy” nonsense.
On March 30, I asked the organization questions about the house, which is known internally as “Campus.” Afterward, leaders circulated an internal strategy memo with possible responses, ranging from “Can we kill the story?” to “Our angle — needs to be to deflate ownership of the property.” The memo includes bullet points explaining that “Campus is part of cultural arm of the org — potentially as an ‘influencer house,’ where abolition+ based content is produced by artists & creatives.” Another bullet is headed “Accounting/990 modifications” and reads in part: “need to first make sure it’s legally okay to use as we plan to use it.” The memo also describes the property as a “safehouse” for leaders whose safety has been threatened. The two notions — that the house is simultaneously a confidential refuge and a place for broadcasting to the widest possible audience — are somewhat in tension. The memo notes: “Holes in security story: Use in public YT videos.”
In an emailed statement on April 1, Shalomyah Bowers, a BLMGNF board member, said that the organization bought Campus “with the intention for it to serve as housing and studio space for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship.” The fellowship, which “provides recording resources and dedicated space for Black creatives to launch content online and in real life focused on abolition, healing justice, urban agriculture and food justice, pop culture, activism, and politics,” was announced the following morning.
After Shaun King’s house issues, this isn’t exactly new. What’s new is that the media is increasingly willing to dig into BLM’s financial abuses.
George Floyd’s death triggered an outpouring of contributions to BLMGNF, and in October 2020, the organization received an infusion of $66.5 million from its fiscal sponsor — an intermediary commonly used by fledgling nonprofits to process donations. Two weeks later, a man named Dyane Pascall purchased the seven-bedroom house that would become known as Campus. According to California business-registration documents, Pascall is the financial manager for Janaya and Patrisse Consulting, an LLC run by Cullors and her spouse, Janaya Khan; Pascall is also the chief financial officer for Trap Heals, a nonprofit led by Damon Turner, the father of Cullors’s only child.
Within a week, Pascall transferred ownership of the house to an LLC established in Delaware by the law firm Perkins Coie. The maneuver ensured that the ultimate identity of the property’s new owner was not disclosed to the public.
You may recall Perkins Coie from Russiagate as Hillary’s campaign firm.
Paul Cullors, Patrisse’s brother, whose title is head of physical security, updated the group on the situation. Earlier entries in the Signal chat show him performing the same role for properties Cullors purchased with her own funds, which she has said came from book and media deals. Other internal records indicate Cullors’s mother was approved for a cleaning job at Campus and that Cullors’s sister signed the same kind of nondisclosure agreement as other employees at the property, although it’s not clear if the sister worked there.
It’s really a family business.
Meanwhile Facebook successfully colluded with BLM to silence journalism involving its finances.
Other conversations on the BLM Security Hub chat show efforts to monitor social media for negative mentions of BLMGNF, with members using their influence with the platforms to have such remarks removed. It’s currently not possible to share the Post’s article on Cullors’s home purchases on Facebook because the site’s parent company, Meta, has labeled the content “abusive.”
According to Zuckerberg, Holocaust denial isn’t abusive, but investigating BLM’s finances is.