Friday, November 02, 2007

The History of the AfroSpear

The genesis of the AfroSpear/AfroSphere movement can be attributed to many Black bloggers, Black blogs and websites within the African Diaspora. Bloggers like AfroNetizen, African American Political Pundit, Jack and Jill Politics, Black Commentator, Booker Rising, Prometheus 6, Mirror on America and Francis Holland had for many months expressed the need for inclusion of black bloggers into the majority blogosphere discussion on all issues impacting Americans. They contended that white bloggers, particularly the "big [white] boys of blogging" refused to link to Black blogs on their blogs lists as well as within articles, and generally pretended that Black bloggers did not exist.

In spite of the demands by Blacks for inclusion in the white blogosphere, in 2006 white bloggers met in the middle of the an historic black community of Harlem, N.Y. with former President Bill Clinton, to discuss politics but did not include the participation of a single Black blogger. Many black bloggers considered this an insult to black bloggers and to black communities.

The resulting photograph of an all-white group of bloggers in Harlem with Bill Clinton infuriated Black bloggers, who represent a critical base of the Democratic Party. From the conservative La Shawn Barber , the moderate The Republic of T and the liberal Steve Gillard and The Culture Kitchen created early discussions for a chain of Black change in the blogosphere.

In 1996, Black Internet social and political activist Francis L. Holland, Esq. began criticizing the lack of diversity at DailyKos, but he was banned from participation there. He subsequently published a groundbreaking study at MyDD, on Feb 15, 2007, that included a startling graphic which showed a square entitled "Blogosphere" divided in half, into two segregated triangles, the "whitosphere" and the "Blackosphere," with an accompanying essay entitled "entitled Blackosphere & Whitosphere: Silence is Never Golden . This graphic acknowledgment of the de-facto segregation of the blogosphere provided an additional crucial catalyst for bloggers of African descent to coalesce to discuss issues of importance to the African diaspora in a collective manner.

A subsequent article entitled "White-News" vs. the Blackosphere became to topic of conversation in the black blogger community, and the term "whitosphere" made popular by Francis L. Holland became essential to Blacks and whites conceptual understanding, continuing to be used even today.

Bloggers like The Field Negro , Jack and Jill Politics, African American Political Pundit, Asabagna, Aulelia, P6, Skeptical Brotha, Republic of T, BygBaby, Culture Kitchen, Angie, The Free Slave, and many other bloggers continued the discussions at the Republic of T's blog after his blog post " The Republic of T. Blogging While Brown, Part III" on March 30, 2007 with Black bloggers, Rikyrah, ecthompson, Electronic Viillage, Mark Bey, Dr. Lester Spence, Bronze Trinity and many other bloggers contributing to the discussion. Through further discussions on other black blogger platforms such as The Free Slave the AfroSpear name was agreed upon.

The " AfroSpear" core group originated from a discussion group of black bloggers from around the world who had an interest in developing a community of African/Black progressive-minded bloggers. Although the concept of an organized "Blackosphere" was compelling to many bloggers, they wanted a name that conveyed not merely skin-color but also a shared cultural vision. The core group wanted a name that would not limit their engagement to the United States, but would connect Afro-descendant bloggers from throughout the African Diaspora.

The name "AfroSpear" was proposed by Asabagna, who also developed the AfroSpear logo that continues to be the graphic cue that creates visual continuity and a sense of community across the community of Black blogs.

To create community and to address the lack of links from white blogs, Francis L. Holland proposed that all Black blogs that joined the AfroSpear be included on one common AfroSpear bloglist that would be posted at all AfroSpear blogs. Adopted almost universally, this policy created a sense of community, common destiny and continuity across the AfroSpear Black blogger community, visible for all the world to see. The PlezWorld blog subsequently created a unique Google code that automated the updating of the AfroSpear bloglist, which now includes over six-dozen Black blogs from across the United States, five countries and four continents.

Meanwhile, the AfroSpear developed internal messaging tools that make its communication model conceptually like an interactive Associated Press; articles, information and orientation are freely shared for publication among and across blogs in real time.

Within the AfroSpear community, the AfroSpear blog serves as a central meeting and reference point. The six Black bloggers who started the AfroSpear blog had developed an existing relationship by exchanging ideas and having discussions and respectful debates on each others blogs. They came from 4 different countries on 3 continents, sharing in common their love for their community writ large and their commitment to the progress of those of African descent, both near and far. They brought a variety of experiences, perspectives, ideas, beliefs and values in an effort to foster understanding, wisdom, knowledge and strength.

They created the name and concepts for a baseline model of the AfroSpear which has developed into a think tank with Diaspora-wide influence, comprised of six bloggers: three women and three men. The vision was that it would focus on the discussing issues, exchanging ideas and creating strategies, with the objective of developing concrete and viable solutions to tackle the concerns relating to those of African descent worldwide.

The AfroSpear community now includes over six dozen blogs, each demonstrably furthering the goals and objectives of the AfroSpear in ways both common and unique.

Original moderators and Contributors of the AfroSpear blog included, Adrianne, Asabagna, Aulelia, BelizeBound, Field Negro and Kizzie.

Today the Afrospear and the Afrosphere of bloggers have successfully led drives to liberate Shaquanda Cotton from prison, lead an international bloggers' effort to free the The Jena 6, and and have helped spread word about the Jena 6, h have created impetus for Congressional hearings into abusive Rap music, and have spun off yet another international bloggers association, the African American Bloggers Association (ABA) and it's Solutions Blog.

Conceptually, the the largest bloggers' group is the blogosphere, which includes all bloggers. Within the blogosphere, there is the "whitosphere" which is a predominantly white community of bloggers and there is the Blackosphere, which includes independent Black bloggers, regardless of their political orientation or goals.

Within the Blackosphere there is the afrosphere, which includes all Black self-determination bloggers, although they may not know one another and may have no formal or informal connections to one another beyond their dedication to Black political, economic and cultural self-determination. And within the afrosphere there is the organized AfroSpear, an international membership group of progressive Black bloggers determined to that their blogs, united into a powerful communicative force, should serve as a catalyst and for Black self-determination throughout the Diaspora.