If you have ever traveled between New Orleans and West Africa, you have likely been amazed at the very clear similarities. The African identity shared by billions across the world is one that translates itself into various modes of living. From food to music to language to art, our singular identities as Afro-Latinos, Caribbeans, Black Americans, Afropeans and Africans are just as beautiful as our shared identity as Afrodiasporans. The Afropole is a platform meant to celebrate our differences while encouraging unity through shared economics. The call to #buyblack is a drop in the larger ocean of investing in our blackness. 

Investing in our blackness supersedes our role as consumers and calls for us to be more conscientious creators. To make sacrifices necessary to tell our stories, reverberate our messages and insert ourselves in the processes of creating goods that will leave generational impact. We hope to use this platform ultimately as a match-making site for creators. From farmers to digital artists to restaurateurs--- we believe in the black value chain. We believe that at every level, we should seek first to invest in ourselves. In an increasingly global world, we can not work in silos. We must identify our comparative advantages across the world and unite to build stronger networks of trade. Whether it is profiting from centuries of cultural capital given freely to the world, or writing, producing and promoting our own narratives to be broadcast, it is within our power to finally steer the messages about our value in the direction that we deem fit.

We are excited about the prospects of such a platform. The truth of the matter is that the global devaluation of blackness has impacted us economically in almost every part of the world--- even the continent of Africa. However, this site is not meant to highlight the gloom and doom tales we already know. The Afropole seeks to be a solution: to break barriers of information asymmetry and force the world to hear our globally united black voice. 

 The Afropole is a brokerage seeking to leverage our Afrodiasporan comparative advantage in three key industries (creative, agricultural and beauty) such that Afrodiasporans are able to gain greater income and, ultimately, increase generational wealth. 

The Afropole Platform exists in three ways: 

  1. Movement- The Afropole is a mindset. It recognizes that blackness is expressed in a multiplicity of ways and that as a result, our ethnic identities are layered. Our cultures as black people whether on the continent of Africa or Europe or the Americas, are different and unique. While there are differences that come from our various national identities, there is a common thread that binds us. As President Barack Obama said in his last speech at Howard University:

    "Even as we each embrace our own beautiful, unique, and valid versions of our blackness, remember the tie that does bind us as African Americans -- and that is our particular awareness of injustice and unfairness and struggle.  That means we cannot sleepwalk through life.  We cannot be ignorant of history."

    These words are what drive the movement behind The Afropole. We will be producing a weekly newsletter starting in January 2017, make sure to join the mailing list so you can receive the first copy!

     
  2. Meet Up- We recognize that the only way to make the reality of our interconnectedness felt is through actual exchange of ideas. We will host and feature events that center on black people globally as creators/ producers. These events will look specifically at the Americas, Africa and Europe. In addition to physically meeting, we also hope to develop an online space in social media for meaningful discussion and exchange to persist. Because the mandate of the organization is larger than any one geographical location, we hope to work with various online media to ensure ongoing and consistent interaction. 


     
  3. Match Making- Ultimately we want to be able to match businesses across the world. We want to ensure that within certain industries, namely beauty, agriculture/ food, and the creative industry (areas where we have historically been pioneers but rarely profited), we are able to build business relationships that will have lasting, industry- wide impact, especially for the next generation of creators and consumers. We hope to build black value chains that are able to create products fit for the world and made by us. 

 

 

Community Development

From the onset, Afropole is committed to investing resources into spaces that have the potential to change lives and develop our communities around the world. Twenty percent of the funds raised on this platform will be reinvested into two spaces: Sankofa Innovation Fellowship and Build Black Business Funds. 

 
 

Sankofa innovation fellowship

This is a fellowship dedicated to providing experiential education opportunities around the world for 6- 8 weeks. If you are an Afro- Canadian hairdresser looking to learn more about traditional African hairstyles, an African musician looking to understand how percussion instruments were adapted and evolved in the Caribbean or an Afropean farmer looking to understand Creole cuisines and raw ingredients, this is the fellowship for you. As explained above, our experiences are diverse and there is so much value add we can offer each other to raise the profile of the work of our hands. This fellowship seeks to offerjust this type of opportunity. 

 

build black business fund

This is an unconditional cash grant for black owned businesses. There is research that supports what many entrepreneurs know intuitively: sometimes you need a cash boost to offset costs and propel your business forward. This fund will help support black owned businesses producing goods and services within the creative, agriculture and beauty sectors. These businesses may or may not cater to black people, and they can sit at any point in the value chain, but they have the potential to elevate the sector.