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Was Beethoven Black? Yes, that Beethoven.

A post by the Concordian resurfaced on Twitter suggesting that famous composer Beethoven is actually of African descent sparking a dialogue on Twitter on whether Beethoven was indeed of African heritage. Several statements in the article support what some are calling a conspiracy theory.


For instance, the Concordian reports that physical descriptions of Beethoven from various credible sources including, his lovers, students, teachers, anthropologists, historians, and authors hint at Beethoven's race.


"Wide, thick-lipped mouth, short, thick nose, and proudly arched forehead."


"Negroid traits, dark skin, flat, thick nose."


" His face reveals no trace of the German... He was so dark that people dubbed him 'The Spagnol' [dark-skinned]"


"Coal-black hair... stood up around his head."


"His somewhat flat, broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small, piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto"


The theory is this: Beethoven's mother traced her roots to Flanders, an area under Spanish monarchical rule. Since Spain maintained a relationship with the Moors of North Africa, somehow, we share ancestors with our beloved composer. Moreover, the absence of photography at the time makes it impossible to prove Beethoven's blackness. Europeans certainly have much experience in whitewashing history, so I'm sure none of us would be thaat surprised if that was the case.


Beethoven's African heritage has been politicized even though it is not quite mainstream yet. "African American radicals of the sixties like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael changed it from a possibility to a certainty: Beethoven was black...By making Beethoven black, all of Beethoven’s contributions to the trajectory of musical (and cultural) history are a testament to black accomplishment," says Nicholas Rinehart, a Postdoctoral Fellow, and lecturer in the Dartmouth Society of Fellows.


The idea of Black Beethoven quickly blew up on Twitter. His music has always been mesmerizing, but now, it took a completely different tone.

Civil rights leaders of the 60s supported the theory of Black Beethoven because at the time, black was not associated with genius. Honestly though, while I understand why Malcolm X and his contemporaries would suggest this, we never needed Beethoven to prove our genius and we certainly don't need him to be black. You know why?


Beyonce is black.


Nina Simone is black.


Loius Armstrong is black.


Michael Jackson is black.


Whitney Houston is black.


I could go all day y'all. The greatest to ever do it in music are most likely black. They can keep Beethoven. That don't mean we can't bop to Beethoven's music though!


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