Ferguson tried to warn us.
For America, Ferguson, Missouri has always been a barometer of black life. During the 1960s, when race relations in the country were frayed, Ferguson was a city at sunset where blacks dared not drive after dark. By the time Michael Brown walked into the convenience store on Aug. 9, 2014, Ferguson’s demographics had completely changed. The white flight changed the suburbs of St. Louis to about 67% Black and Brown have committed the flagrant sin of walking down the street while melanistic. An encounter with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would leave Brown dead, and the following night Ferguson was on fire.
The protests were as violent as Brown’s murder, and out of the ashes came this message: there would be no more black deaths without consequences. You will feel us now.
Darren Seals tried to warn us.
“THE BLACK DEATH IS A BUSINESS.” This is how Seals, a former Ferguson activist, used to make sense of the financial windfall and galvanizing black faces that converged on his town soon after Brown’s death.
Seals would say Black Lives Matter as an organization was nothing more than a cash grab with a catchy hashtag used to seize the moment and capitalize on black pain. Seals would argue, in front of his untimely and gruesome deaththat these people weren’t with Ferguson all along, so why were they here now?
During one of his videotaped messages, he had this to say about the band: “This Black Lives Matter shit is exploding and while it’s exploding you don’t hear about Mike Brown anymore. … All you hear about is Black Lives Matter now. They have removed Ferguson’s energy.
“The cops haven’t stopped killing here since Mike Brown died, and what is Black Lives Matter doing about it? They just cash checks. I haven’t heard that they don’t pay for funerals. I haven’t heard of them not starting any youth programs, not building any centers. Nothing. So we are back to square one, where we started. No justice, nothing at all.
Ferguson tried to warn us that the Black Lives Matter organization was not the sacred cow that it appeared to be. Since the hashtag was created in 2013 by three black women – Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi – in response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, there have been questions around money . Garza and Tometi are not affiliated with the business side of Black Lives Matter, but they host speaking engagements on behalf of the hashtag. Garza runs the Black Futures Lab and Tometi founded Diaspora Rising, which markets itself as a center for new media and advocacy for black people. according to the Associated Press. Only Cullors was affiliated with the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation until May 2021.
So let me try to explain it so it all makes sense: Cullors, Garza and Tometi created the hashtag that would later sum up the movement. Cullors was to lead the foundation. But there are also local Black Lives Matter groups that aren’t affiliated with the foundation, which appears to be the national organization raising all the money.
And this is where the story of stories begins. There have been stories, many of them, wondering where all the donations went. In 2020, after the death of George Floyd shook the nation to its heart, the The Black Lives Matter foundation has raised $90 million. There have been questions about what, if anything, the money has been spent on and how it helps the community the organization has exploited.
And then there was a bombshell dropped earlier this week that the foundation took some $6 million in donations to secretly buy a manor. And not just any mansion: a sprawl in Southern California with “more than 6,500 square feet, more than half a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, multiple fireplaces, a soundstage, a swimming pool and a bungalow, and parking for more than 20 cars,” according to New York Magazine, which broke the news. Because everyone knows that the Movement for Black Lives – a movement that has risen to prominence following the deaths of unarmed black men, women and children by police – needs more homes.
This latest news comes after a 2021 report that Cullors bought four houses in the United States for some $3.2 million. Cullors would later announce that she was leaving her position at the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
What is telling here is that somewhere between the struggle for black lives and the pull of stardom, things have changed, lines have been crossed, and accountability and transparency have been skewed. In a long instagram post, Cullors argues that the magazine’s reporting of the secret mansion purchase is both “sexist” and “racist”, but she does not explain how. It’s actually a common refrain from the former head of the foundation when faced with questions about finances, or really anything for that matter, and it works like this: Either you fully accept whatever happening within the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which apparently includes filming a cooking show using the mansion kitchen, or you’re a tool of white supremacy used to shut down one of the largest black organizations fighting to black life.
She claims the mansion was purchased as a “space where members of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) and the broader movement community could work, create content, host meetings and foster creativity.” . So it was basically a WeWork for BLM, although no one could point to any work actually being done there. Cullors also noted that she was no longer affiliated with the foundation, but said all of that would be clarified once the organization released its tax documents — which the original report said never mentioned the SoCal mansion.
Earlier this year, New York Magazine found that Cullors’ ties to other fundraising efforts run deep. One group she has been linked to is Reform LA Jails, which reportedly raised over $1.4 million in 2019. From the January article:
“About $205,000 went to a business that Cullors operates with his wife, Janaya & Patrisse Consulting. And about $86,000 went to Trap Heals LLC, an entertainment, clothing and consulting company founded by Damon Turner, the father of Patrisse Cullors’ child.
The group also reportedly sent “some $211,000 to Asha Bandele, a friend of Cullors’ who co-wrote his memoir,” and another $270,000 to Christman Bowers’ consulting firm, who “signed tax documents as as Deputy Executive Director” of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation ― which reportedly has $60 million in the bank by early 2021.
None of this claims there was any wrongdoing on the part of Reform LA, Cullors or anyone else affiliated with these organizations, as they most likely were paid for their work, but it does indicate that the black death is profit. . It is the byproduct of the black death when there is no one to guide the payment of guilt. And that’s exactly what it’s all about, a payoff to absolve corporations from not caring before the black death becomes national news.
With the advent of the Black Lives Matter foundation and other similar organizations, companies now have a place where they can dump cash or partner up and absolve themselves of corporate responsibility. Black Lives Matter Inc. is a business, and the business appears to coddle accomplices in black death. Corporations no longer need to atone for their wayward hiring practices or collectively turn away from the murders of black men, women and children. Now they can be completely absolved with a big donation to the movement.
Like when shoe company Ugg and the Hammer Museum sponsored Cullors to throw what can only be called the dumbest dance party ever, titled “F*ck White Supremacy, Let’s Get Free” — which featured a call to everyone for Electric Slide white supremacy away.
But Samaria Rice and Mike Brown Sr. and several other parents who have lost their children to police brutality have tried to warn us that the financial effects of the Black Lives Matter movement are not reaching any of those suffering from the loss of their to be expensive. those.
After learning that the Black Lives Matter foundation had received some $90 million in donations, Brown Sr. and other activists demanded a share of the proceeds.
“We are calling on the leadership of Black Lives Matter to donate $20 million to organizers, organizations and community foundations in Ferguson to do the work,” said Tory Russell, co-founder of the International Black Freedom Alliance, in a video with Brown Sr. “We don’t ask for alms; we come for what we deserve.
“What kind of movement are we building where we say ‘Black Lives Matter’ but freedom fighters and families are left behind?” Russell said. “Where is our restitution? Where is our organization? Where is our movement building?
Last year, Brown Sr. said he had only received $500 of any Black Lives Matter organization despite raising millions of dollars in his son’s name.
Meanwhile, Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, responded to the news of the $6 million mansion in a Facebook post: “Smdh. I tried to tell you everything. People will use your pain for their own gain and really think it’s OK.
Later the same day, she posted, “My baby boy needs justice. He’s not your hustle.