eamo2747-deactivated20140924 said: I'm confused about what Beethoven was doing in the black composers post. He was German.
By golly gee! I keep forgetting that Black people didn’t exist until the Fresh Prince of Bel Air came on television! Or that Black people existed in anywhere else than Africa even with slavery going on :) My apologies.
Anyway, here’s proof that Beethoven was Black:
"… Said directly, Beethoven was a black man. Specifically, his mother was a Moor, that group of Muslim Northern Africans who conquered parts of Europe—making Spain their capital—for some 800 years.
In order to make such a substantial statement, presentation of verifiable evidence is compulsory. Let’s start with what some of Beethoven’s contemporaries and biographers say about his brown complexion:
(Louis Letronne, Beethoven, 1814, pencil drawing.)
"Frederick Hertz, German anthropologist, used these terms to describe him: ‘Negroid traits, dark skin, flat, thick nose.’
Emil Ludwig, in his book ‘Beethoven,’ says: ‘His face reveals no trace of the German. He was so dark that people dubbed him Spagnol [dark-skinned].’
Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, in her book ‘An Unrequited Love: An Episode in the Life of Beethoven,’ wrote ‘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.’Beethoven’s death mask: profile and full face
C. Czerny stated, ‘His beard—he had not shaved for several days—made the lower part of his already brown face still darker.’
Following are one word descriptions of Beethoven from various writers: Grillparzer, ‘dark’; Bettina von Armin, ‘brown’; Schindler, ‘red and brown’; Rellstab, ‘brownish’; Gelinek, ‘short, dark.’
In Alexander Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, vol.1, p. 134, the author states, “there is none of that obscurity which exalts one to write history as he would have it and not as it really was. The facts are too patent.” On this same page, he states that the German composer Franz Josef Haydn was referred to as a “Moor” by Prince Esterhazy, and Beethoven had “even more of the Moor in his looks.’ On p. 72, a Beethoven contemporary, Gottfried Fischer, describes him as round-nosed and of dark complexion. Also, he was called ‘der Spagnol’ (the Spaniard).
Other “patent” sources, of which there are many, include, but are not limited to, Beethoven by Maynard Solomon, p.78. He is described as having “thick, bristly coal-black hair” (in today’s parlance, we proudly call it ‘kinky’) and a ‘ruddy-complexioned face.’ In Beethoven: His Life and Times by Artes Orga, p.72, Beethoven’s pupil, Carl Czerny of the ‘School of Velocity’ fame, recalls that Beethoven’s ‘coal-black hair, cut a la Titus, stood up around his head [sounds almost like an Afro]. His black beard…darkened the lower part of his dark-complexioned face.’
Engraving by Blasius Hofel, Beethoven, 1814, color facsimile of engraving after a pencil drawing by Louis Letronne. This engraving was regarded in Beethoven’s circle as particularly lifelike. Beethoven himself thought highly of it, and gave several copies to his friends.
Beethoven, the Black Spaniard(read more here)
They whitewashed BEETHOVEN? O_O
Thank you, history/fact-checking Tumblr.
I now feel the need to go burn every white-skinned image of Beethoven I can find.
beethoven was totally black! how do people not know this?
jk because erasure
I have been playing Beethoven’s music for 10+ years now and had absolutely no idea he was black.
My life has been a lie.
OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT.
I HAVE A BACHELOR DEGREE IN MUSIC, MY MAJOR WAS “MUSIC HISTORY, THEORY, AND LITERATURE”
I TOOK MULTIPLE CLASSES SPECIFICALLY IN BEETHOVEN’S STRING QUARTETS AND MY SCHOOL HAD AN INTERNATIONAL BEETHOVEN SYMPOSIUM WHERE THERE WERE PAPERS ON THINGS LIKE THE KIND OF FUCKING PAAAAAAPER HE DID HIS MANUSCRIPTS ON, IN DIFFERENT CITIES, TO SEE WHERE AND WHEN HE WROTE SPECIFIC SNIPPETS OF MUSIC.
NEVER IN MY EDUCATION OR READINGS DID I EITHER
A) NOTICE THIS
B) WAS SPECIFICALLY TOLD THIS.
I think there’s a combination of systemic racism in this, and my own internalized racism. I have, in fact, read Maynard Solomon’s biography and didn’t pick up on this. I have read the Czerny sources as well. My Beethoven teacher (Bill Kinderman) is one of the top Beethoven scholars in the world, and I don’t remember hearing any of this from him.
I even did a semester of graduate work in musicology, specifically focusing on the Beethoven string quartets (I really fucking love those things) and we never spoke about this.
I cannot say I am in any way surprised at this. I am embarrassed, angry, and upset that this was erased from my DECADES of music education.
Which doesn’t surprise me at all, because classical music is very specifically in our culture for white people, especially men, especially upper class white men.
Oof, this one is going to take a while to fully fucking digest, I am in angry tears.
Hey Guys, it’s Kat and I’m here to talk to you about BLACK FACE.
In light of recent controversies, the YouTube community has taken to calling out problematic youtubers. I’m a huge fan of this as I’ve seen very popular youtubers profit from the perpetuation of things like sexism, racism and transphobia.
Now, let me start out by saying this: I don’t blame most people for not understanding the implications and the history of black face. Growing up being taught a whitewashed version of history a lot of the atrocities that came from racism in this country have been down played and in a lot of cases completely removed from text books.
Black face is something that not only manifested on small back alley southern stages, It was and still is international. It was on Broadway, The Silver Screen and even has a long history in Music.
It’s a part of our culture a lot of people want to ignore, but I believe we need to talk about because it DOES still impact black people to this day.
Blackface is something that was so popular that there are several children’s cartoons that feature black face characters.
In this video we’ll be focusing on Warner Brother’s Snow White Parody, Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs.
Bob Clampet’s Coal Black and Sebben Dwarfs is 1 of 11 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies films that were censored in 1968 called the censored Eleven
I’ll be using characters in this film to frame racist some archetypes commonly found in Black Face productions.
First we’ve got the Evil Queen. The evil Queen in this film portrays the most popular of the black stock character,The Mammy.
The Mammy archetype is morbidly obese and often portrayed with large breasts. Despite these breasts she is seen as sexually undesirably, in fact she’s regarded as quite traditionally masculine in her demeanor.
In Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs she is in fact voiced by a man.
The Mammy is illiterate, loud and violent towards her own children, yet welcoming and warm towards the white children she was made to wet nurse.
The mammy will bake a plate of warm pancakes for white soldiers but feed her children scraps.
Then we’ve got So White who in the title is referred to as Coal Black. So White is the Jezebel.
The Jezebel is hypersexualized. She is seen as the polar opposite of a proper white woman. She exemplifies the idea that black women are more sexually available. She is portrayed as immoral, ditsy and willing to accept and appreciate any sex that comes her way, be it by her own will or by force.
So White is lusted after by every man in the film and never quite settles for one.
Then we have Prince Charming who in this story is Prince Chawmin. Prince Chawmin is the Zip Coon.
The Zip Coon adorns himself with proper clothing and is arrogant in his demeanor. Despite dressing like a wealthy man, his lack of intellect undermines him. He is portrayed as essentially a man who is putting on airs. Not quite being able to maintain an air of high class, he is seen and treated like an animal in man’s clothing.
Finally, we have the Sebben Dwarves.
They are the Sambo.
The Sambo are pickininines, unkempt black children usually depicted as having knotted hair and large lips that can often be seen gulping Watermelon.
Sambo are often depicted as foolishly placing themselves into dangerous situations. Most popularly hanging from trees playfully as tigers roar at them from below. They’re also popularly seen near swamps near alligators and affectionately referred to as “alligator bait”.
This is only scraping the surface of black face characterizations overall. At the time this film was produced (1942), it was considered to be quite progressive considering the inclusion of black voice actors as well as musicians.
You can watch the full version of the film here
So why is blackface harmful?
Blackface is harmful because these characters and these stereotypes were created by white people as a means of defining and dehumanizing black people.
Blackface is to African Americans as Traditional Shakespearean theater was to women. Black people were not allowed to perform on the same stage as white performers.This means that whenever there was a black character in production, black actors were not cast. Instead they opted for white actors in black face.And these black characters were never meant to be portrayed as sympathetic characters. They were always either comedic relief or villains.
The archetypes I described have been reproduced and perpetuated to the point where when black actors were eventually allowed to portray themselves they almost never veered away from these stock characters.
Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to win an Oscar for her Role in Gone with the Wind in 1940. What was her role?
Her character was literally named Mammy. She was a phenomenal actress whose roles in film were almost exclusively that of the Mammy archetype.
So what happens when a white comedian dawns dark makeup in order to portray a black character for laughs?
It conjures old feelings and perpetuates the history of white actors darkening their skin to dehumanize black people.
Black Face has been used to make arguments for slavery and why African Americans should have limited human rights.
These are narratives created by white men that were made to oppress and dehumanize an entire race. So when white men are still perpetuating these tropes in 2014 and getting paid for it, it’s not going to sit well with many people in the black community.
OH BUT WHAT ABOUT WHITE FACE??
You literally can’t compare white face to black face because white face has never limited the options of white actors nor did it seek to represent them in a world that under represents them.
White face is generally criticism, while black face is degradation.
When Dave Chapelle dawns light makeup and does the hip hop news break he’s making commentary on race and class. He’s parodying racist white men who will passively make racist comments, while not wanting to be seen as racists.
When the Wayans Brothers went undercover as two white blonde twin sisters it was, again, a commentary on race and class. Half of the jokes in the film depend on the idea that these two black men are from a lower income and class and they’re trying to maintain the air of women who are from a higher income and class and they often fail.
What needs to be understood is that this isn’t a “two wrongs don’t make a right” scenario because we are at a point in society where we are equal.Equality doesn’t come with one black president out of the 43 white ones before him. Keep in mind, America is only 248 years old.
Black face, demonstrably has been used to dehumanize black people and has subsequently lead to perpetuation of institutionalized racism. What are the repercussions of white face? What rights were denied to white people because Chapelle or the Wayans brothers wore white face?
The best comedy punches upwards towards the established structure of power, not downwards at oppressed classes.There’s a reason why black people object to black face and it’s because of it’s history. It’s not just the makeup, it’s what happened and continues to happen because of it.
When your only exposure to black narratives are white men in dark makeup, your understanding of black people, let alone the racism black people face is going to be very distorted.So in this conversation, please understand that white people do not get to decide whether or not something is offensive or oppressive to people of color.
At the end of the day, I, as a black woman have to live with these stereotypes. So you can of course have an opinion about black face, but honestly if you don’t live with it then realize that that’s privilege and that the opinions of people who live with racism are going to give you a better understanding of this issue at hand.
Honestly, I hate being that angry black girl. I would love to feel like I’m over reacting but I feel like people need to understand why these conversations and altercations occur. I don’t want to live in a world where these things are still issues. But these conversations are so important and will help us get there one day.
We all make mistakes and like I said, I almost don’t blame people for not understanding the implications of black face. I just hope that these conversations will make people a bit more aware.
We have to accept that there are certain things that we’ve been socialized to accept that are problematic. We need to make the conscious decision to more forward and do better.
So on THAT note thank you guys so much for watching. I put a lot of effort into this video so if you liked it, please share it. And as usual, Always remember and never forget that YOU are beautiful and you are loved. <3
YES, THANK YOU.
Living in The Netherlands I’m confronted with blackface every single year in the form of a character called “Zwarte Piet”, or Black Peter, who is part of our St. Nicholas Day celebration. The character is supposed to be a dark skinned moor servant who helps St. Nick hand out toys and candy to good kids, and punishes the naughty children.
The character is almost exclusively portrayed by white people in blackface makeup, that usually includes big red lips, curly wigs and golden hooped earrings. This is completely normalized in The Netherlands and children are bombarded with this image constantly.
As a POC I’ve had people call me “Zwarte Piet” quite a lot and it has always made me somewhat uncomfortable. In recent years criticism of the blackface part of the custom has become a lot more vocal, and the amount of white people rushing to defend this particular aspect is actually rather scary. They’re so eager to defend their “tradition” that a lot of their casual racism is laid bare.
They will make excuses saying it’s okay because the character is loved by everyone, or that’s not supposed to be an actual POC, or say that because he’s not a slave it’s no problem. Some of them will just come out and say that POC need to “get back to our own country if we don’t like the way we do things over here.” I can even name one instance where an elderly WOC was nearly assaulted by a large group of white “pro-Piet” protesters and had to be escorted away to safety by police. “Zwarte Piet” is frequently used as a derogatory term to refer to POC, and yet most people still refuse to acknowledge how harmful this part of the custom is. White people will instead see any criticism as an attack on THEM. “How dare you call me a racist? I just care about our traditions!”
I’m glad that you found this post and commented on it. I read a bit about this while writing this script and it kinda shocked me how normalized it was.