Wait, Beethoven was Black? The Beethoven we know, or at least we learned about–was a white man. However. social media begs to differ.
Black Twitter said Ludwig van Beethoven was Black. But was he, really?
Apparently, the debate of Beethoven’s blackness surfaced during the Great Depression. Musical history historians alleged Beethoven’s mother descended from the Spanish Moors, who were Black.
The theory resurfaced in 2015. The Concordian cited the following physical descriptions of the composer:
“His face reveals no trace of the German…He was so dark that people dubbed him ‘The Spagnol’,” and his “Complexion was brownish, his hair was thick, black, and bristly.”
Supposedly, Beethoven’s favorite depiction of himself is one that proves he was Black. In the pencil sketch, “his face is broad, his hair is unruly, and his skin is very dark.”
A Twitter user put us on to some more context surrounding Beethoven’s color:
If the “Für Elise” composer really is Black, contrary to how he has been depicted in photos, there is another conversation to be had.
A lot of schools do not teach the complexities of Black history. With that being said, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he really was of color. There are a lot of holes in Black history that Black people and POC have taken upon themselves to fill.
Was Beethoven portrayed as white because Black people are seen as inferior?
— 🌸⁷ (@mostlytima) June 18, 2020
While there are many true and false theories out there, it is important to understand why they have come about.
In a time where Black people are still fighting for acknowledgment, it is interesting that this has come up.