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2006 was the year I became aware of the Blacks Blogsphere.  I began my blog right here in the late summer/early fall of 2006.  I had come to realize that we, black/African American people, were not getting our story told via the mainstream media. Like most I believed I had something of value to say to our people and to act as a voice of our people.  I soon learned I was not alone in this feeling and I soon virtually bumped into the Field Negro.  Soon thereafter I found the Free Slave, Bronze Trinity and Asabagna all online with the same idea to enlighten our people and give them a voice, where we were practically voiceless.  Jet was no longer doing it for us, neither was Ebony.  We need something more.


In late 2006, the idea of banning together and putting forth information from a black perspective sprang forth and we all tossed around ideas.  Soon Asabagna, Bronze Trinity, The Free Slave, Aulelia, Kizzie, Francis L. Holland and a few others brought forward the AfroSpear.  We loved it.  We believed we would be a force to recon with and soon we would find out just how powerful this conglomeration of bloggers would be.  In March 2007 Howard Witt, writing for the Chicago Tribune broke the story of the Jena 6.  The AfroSpear got wind of the story and we all posted information about the Jena, Louisiana case.  Soon,  after we made the story go viral (we didn’t use that term back then) radio personalities Al Sharpton and Michael Baisden began to air it on their national radio programs.  It was due to the constant outcry of the AfroSpear that drove these two to speak.  There would be others, the Shaquanda Cotton case and the most heinous of all was the brutal sexual assault and rape of a woman by youngsters in the Dunbar Village apartments.  Weekly many of us black bloggers posted open letters appealing for justice for the victims. 


We were on fire.  We had influenced each one of these cases on one level or another and we could see we in fact wielded a powerful sword.  Then comes senator Barack Obama announcing his candidacy for president of the United States.  This opened up a plethora of opinions.  There were many for the senator and many, well, not so much against just not on his jock like they were.  Many of refused to drink of the cup of the poisonous swill being leached out by the then senator from Illinois.  The dye was cast and many of us were excoriated by other black bloggers for refusing the cup of the George Town, Guyana verbal cool aid the good senator from Chicago offered.   After the senator won the prize of presidency, this seemed to lull the black blogsphere to sleep.  The fire seemed to be dying out.  Slowly, what was once a haven for new ideas and opinions the black blogsphere began to be a sphere of remixed excrement from the main stream media.  Their boy was in office and that was that.


To Be Continued...

Reader Comments (4)

Hi Victor!

Where, o where to begin? I could rant endlessly about this topic. Because I feel that what you're describing in relation to The AfroSpear is related to the death of African-American politics [as being about any sort of liberation for AAs]. It's also part of the same overall process that destroyed what had been "Black radio."

In all of these cases, Corporate America's decision to throw Black folks various "bones" and assorted other Trojan Horse gifts (like Pres. Obama) hastened the self-destruction---via apathy and complacency---of these various Black/AA entities. Because AAs are easily pacified with symbol over substance (aka Black Faces In High Places).

All of which lets me know that overall, there was never any real commitment to institution-building. For most modern AAs, politics, Black radio, Black papers, Black politicians, Black blogs are about:

(1) entertainment to drown out the suffering of a disintegrating/dying AA collective; and

(2) crying out for somebody else to step in and solve AA problems [when the pain of having the lowest quality of life indicators---majority out-of-wedlock birthrate and myriad of horrors that flow from that like poverty, crime, etc.] the is too acute to be glossed over with some more Club Rumpshaker music].

I hate to say it, but this sort of disintegration of AA/Black entities is yet another manifestation of the end of the road for the AA collective.
June 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKhadija
Khadija!!!!!!! :-) So glad to see you here, peace and nuff respect to you for keeping the fire burning. I will comment on what you said here later because like you I could rant for too long, I will say what you write here I know it inside, I have been running this around in my heart soul and mind for a very long time but now facing it gives me a heavy heart.

Peace, and thanks for stopping by.
June 16, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Victor Amenta]
Interesting post Bro. Amenta!

You were there from the beginning and saw what I saw, although we may have a different perspective on why the AfroSphere and specifically the AfroSpear is where it's at today. I have often considered doing a blog post to address this topic and share my opinion and perspective but to be honest, I really can't be bothered. It wouldn't change a thing... or anyone for that matter. However, as one of the founding members of the AfroSpear Think Tank blog, I'll share some thoughts here.

I believe the candidacy and election of Barack Obama was a symptom,not the catalyst, which brought to the forefront the underlying issues which was causing divisions within the AfroSpear. I believe these 3 issues were the basis of the increasing tensions, and I'll comment briefly on each:

1. The deep seated "Plantation/Slavery" mentality among our Black intellectuals:
The main vision underlying the AfroSpear was the exchange of ideas, as well as discussing and respectfully debating different points of view. This was to be the foundation for our vision of "Black Unity". However it became increasingly evident that "unity" for most of us entailed uniting only with those with the same opinions as oneself, grounded in some form of white supremacy ideology. This was clearly evident politically, where those who defined themselves as Black Democrats, those invested in the Eurocentric political ideology of the left... so-called progressive, liberal, did not want to find common ground, much less discuss ideas with those who defined themselves as Black Republicans, those invested in the Eurocentric political ideology of the right... the so-called conservatives. Then there were the Black revolutionaries who were stuck in the intellectual time warp of the 60's, who were invested in the Eurocentric political ideology of Socialism/Communism. Their attitude of elitist political and social intellectualism meant that they did not have the capacity or humility to hear other points of view, especially if it meant they could be "wrong" about a subject.

2. African American (AA) arrogance within the AfroSphere:
I have discussed this in previous posts, but I found among AAs, if you disagree with their opinion on any topic, they take it as a personal attack, especially if you are not an AA yourself. Furthermore, one of the processes we have to go though as an individual as well as a community to empower ourselves, is to periodically do some serious and painful soul searching to address and deal with our failings. Again when discussing the shortcoming of other individuals and/or communities in Africa or other parts of the Diaspora, AAs are very vocal and are quick to provide the cure to what ails us. However, when this spotlight is turned on them, they take the position that it is better to kill the messenger than to consider if the message has any value.

3. Lack of commitment:
I've seen many people come and go at the AfroSpear for various reasons, but the prevailing factor in all of those who left is a lack of commitment to the process of working together for a purpose greater than oneself. This takes hard work and as much of a cliché as it sounds, the majority of Black/African sisters and brothers I've engaged within the AfroSpear are about "talking the talk rather than walking the walk". There is no substance behind their words, its all about the show.

I could go much more in depth and provide numerous examples and specific experiences, (most, if not all, you would know) but I said I'd be brief... and I've already gone on much longer than I wanted to. My point is this, my experiences within the AfroSpear has led me to the conclusion that there will NEVER be any meaningful, nor long lasting unity nor solidarity among those of African descent, particularly among the so-called best and brightest of us... whom Dubois defined as "the talented tenth". You and I have discussed this before. So its up to each of us now to determine whether the whole "AfroSpear" experience was just a fad, a moment in time for us to reminisce about and yearn for... and use our time and energy to analyze what happened to it, or we can take up the torch and get to work to keep the vision alive. Believe me, many times I've wanted to shut the whole thing down, but the difficulty is that when you're committed to a vision, you realize that choice really isn't yours to make.

June 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAsabagna
Asa, I feel you. I have been rolling this story around in my head for more than a year. I think letting it out is more about me venting than anything changing. You said " experiences within the AfroSpear has led me to the conclusion that there will NEVER be any meaningful, nor long lasting unity nor solidarity among those of African." AND OH DAMN U ARE SOOOO RIGHT!!! It took me a long time to admit this to myself.

upon my follow up I will be qouting both you and Khadija. You to are, to me, two of the most clear and concise writers in the black blogshere.

Peace to you both.
June 18, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Victor Amenta]

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