Update: Talib Kweli says that his legal defense fund is not directly responsible for bailing Josh Williams out of jail.
Talib Kweli recently fielded questions – via Twitter – concerning the allocating of funds from a charity he helped to start.
After a follower asked Kweli “how much was raised and where it went?” the rapper explained that $104,000 had been raised and $35,000 had been donated to the advocacy group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE).
Two months after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, Kweli teamed up with Donna Dragotta and Autumn Marie to start the Ferguson Legal Defense Fund.
Kweli, Dragotta and Marie used the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo to streamline their efforts. According to the site, the campaign was initiated to assist with legal funds and money to live for protesters in Ferguson. By partnering with Tef Poe and Tory Russell from Ferguson October, the proceeds were said to go exactly where they were needed.
Within three months, the Defense Fund had exceeded its $25,000 goal, accumulating a total of $112,052. The campaign was closed on January 2.
Its first withdrawal aided a vocal 19-year-old protestor named Josh Williams.
Police arrested Williams after a surveillance video allegedly captured him trying to set fire to a pile of wood outside of a Berkeley,Missouri QuikTrip on Christmas Eve.
The hashtag #FreeJosh and a promotional website brought awareness to his case. Nearly 40 days later, Williams has been freed from prison, according to MORE.
Kweli’s Legal Defense Fund was reportedly responsible for donating tens of thousands of dollars towards Williams’ bail.
A representative from the organization, Hands Up United, tweeted “15k raised by MORE 15k from Talib Kweli Legal Defense Fund, coordinated with Hands Up United. Thank them but thank Talib Kweli 4 his work.”
Kweli addressed his detractors by tweeting, “To ppl in Ferguson asking about the money I raised, no need for the drama and speculation. I’m right here. Daily. Ask me anything.”
Check out the full exchange via Twitter below: