The Afrosphere is an international movement consisting of all Black blogs working toward Black political, cultural, economic self-determination. There is also a membership group within the afrosphere that is called the AfroSpear, which includes over one hundred and fifty Black blogs.
The genesis of the AfroSpear/afrosphere movement can attributed to the involvement of many bloggers of African descent, and their blogs and websites throughout the African Diaspora. In the first months of 2007, Black bloggers such as AfroNetizen, African American Political Pundit, Jack and Jill Politics, Black Commentator Booker Rising, Prometheus 6, Mirror on America and Francis L. Holland had for many months expressed the need for inclusion of black bloggers into the majority blogosphere discussion on all issues impacting Americans.
White bloggers in many ways refused to hear the outcry of black bloggers for participation and inclusion and even met in the middle of an historic black community of Harlem, N.Y. with former President Bill Clinton, to discuss politics, without including a single Black blogger.
Members of the white blogosphere coming into the Black community, and only inviting one Black person, (who was not able to attend for personal reasons) was considered by many Black bloggers an insult to Black bloggers and their communities.
The picture of all white bloggers in Harlem, with Bill Clinton talking politics, when black voters are a critical base of the Democratic Party insulted black bloggers 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 change in the Blogosphere.
Enter Black Internet social and political activist Francis L. Holland, who wrote a groundbreaking post in MyDD: Blackosphere & Whitosphere: Silence is Never Golden on February 15, 2007 which provided additional emphasis for a coming together point for bloggers of African descent to further discuss issues of importance to the African diaspora in a collective manner. His article entitled "White-News" vs. the Blackosphere" became the hot topic of conversation in the Black blogger community. The term "whitosphere" to refer to the white blogosphere, made popular by Francis L. Holland, is still used 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 overall the origins of “AfroSpear” started 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. The word AfroSpear came from black blogger discussions regarding a name for a group of Black bloggers who did not want to limit their engagement to the continent of the United States, but also wanted to connect with bloggers from throughout the African Diaspora.
Seeing the need to water of the AfroSpear seed, and take it to the next level, a smaller ad hoc black blogger group moved forward and began planning beyond the creation of a name and concepts into a baseline model of the AfroSpear. It developed into an idea to create a diasporic-wide think tank type blog with six bloggers: three women and three men. The vision was that it would focus on 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 6 who initially started the AfroSpear blog had developed a relationship by exchanging ideas and having discussions and respectful debates on each other’s blogs. They didn’t always agree, but what they had in common was their love for their community and a commitment to the progress of those of African descent, both near and far. They came from 4 different countries on 3 continents. They brought a variety of experiences, perspectives, ideas, beliefs and values in an effort to foster understanding, wisdom, knowledge and strength.
The Afrospear is a part of, connected to and add a collective voice to the variety of other Afrocentric/Black individuals, conglomerations and collectives out in the AfroSphere. To the best and the brightest for the progress of people of the African dispora. Original moderators and Contributors of the Afrospear included, Adrianne, Asabagna, Aulelia, BelizeBound, Field Negro and Kizzie.
The Afrospear and the afrosphere of bloggers worked on organizing The Jena 6, and Shaquanda Cotton and have helped spread word about the Jena6 while at the same time AfroSpear Members Mark Bey and Bronze Trinity organized the African American Bloggers Association and its Solutions Blog.
On August 2, 2007 the Afrosphere Bloggers Association was launched as an organization to help the Black community to grow and prosper and became the first organisation to use the word in its company name.
In 2008, the Democratic National Convention credentialed several AfroSpear and afrosphere bloggers to cover the Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Participation in the 2008 Democratic National Convention
On May 16, 2008, AfroSpear member Atty. Francis L. Holland broke the story of the Democratic National Convention's (DNC) virtually all-white state blog pool, where some 53 of 55 state blogs chosen to sit among the delegates on the floor of the Democratic National Convention were white, with only two Black or Latino blogs chosen. The DNC state blog corps story was first covered in the mainstream media by reporter Karen Brooks of the Dallas Morning News. Atty. Francis L. Holland and D. Yobachi Boswell, both coordinators of the Afrosphere Action Coalition issued a series of press releases and gave a series of interviews to the mainstream media on the issue, after which the story was covered in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Washington Post, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Politico.
Partly as a result of these actions, as well as a generalized afrosphere campaign of e-mail contact with the DNC and intense media attention, six AfroSpear blogs and an additional three afrosphere blogs that had applied for credentials were allowed to cover the 2008 Democratic National Convention as part of the Convention's "general pool" of blogs, but not as part of the state blog corps, which remains virtually all-white.
AfroSpear blogs admitted to cover the 2008 Democratic National Convention in the general pool were L.N. Rock's "African American Political Pundit"; Pam Spaulding's "PamsHouseBlend"; Shawn Williams' "Dallas South"; Gina McCauley's "What About our Daughters?"; Jill Tubman and Baratunde Thurston's "Jack and Jill Politics". Additional afrosphere blogs selected included "Culture Kitchen" and "Georgia Unfiltered".
In 2012, credentialed bloggers at the Democratic National Convention will include Leon N. Rock of the African American Pundit blog and Adrianne George of the Black Women in Europe blog.
Afrosphere bloggers' recognition as a force in American journalism
The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism has taken notice of Black bloggers' presence at the 2008 Democratic National Convention as one of the significant trends 2008, citing Francis L. Holland's advocacy to see Black blogs credentialed for the convention. The State of the News Media: An Annual Report on American Journalism (2009) and "notable credentialed African American blogs" including: African American Political Pundit, Jack and Jill Politics, Pam’s House Blend and Dallas South.