What we thought we knew of our world is no more. From historical events to iconic figures, it seems as though we may have been wrong about a few things.
The latest on the list to have been proved otherwise is none other than Beethoven. That's right, we can't get over it either.
Keep scrolling to hear his story and see the pictures as well as how the internet reacted to the revelation...
Whitewashing has always been a problem when it comes to history.
via: Getty ImagesFrom the Egyptians to Jesus himself, whitewashing has taken real-life events and told them through the eyes of white people for centuries.
And through word-of-mouth, these stories were passed down through generations.
via: Getty ImagesUntil they became facts that we all re-called in harmony. But historical evidence suggests that what we knew of prominent figures may not necessarily be true. I know, I was left very confused after thinking about it for too long too, but stick with me.
What is whitewashing?
via: Getty ImagesAccording to Merriam Webster, whitewashing can be defined in such terms: "To alter (something) in a way that favors, features, or caters to white people: such as: - To portray (the past) in a way that increases the prominence, relevance, or impact of white people and minimizes or misrepresents that of nonwhite people.
But with the lack of technology there at the time, it was hard to prove it.
via: Getty ImagesHowever, recent breakthrough discoveries have led us to believe that throughout time, powerful white people have used whitewashing as a means of projecting the idea that "white" was the superior race.
It's not too hard to believe just from what we know already.
via: Getty ImagesIt's no secret that most countries around the world were colonized by white people who ravaged the land, slaughtered the civilians living there, and stole their assets to pass off their own. You only have to step into a museum to know that to be true.
And don't even get me started on whitewashing in the media.
via: IMDbOne of the most recent, outrageous whitewashed portrayals has to go to Scarlett Johansson who was cast to play a Japanese woman in Ghost in the Shell. Were there no actual Japanese actors to play the role or what? I mean, it's completely absurd.
Historical figures have often undergone whitewashing to continue the idea of the "superior race."
via: Getty ImagesBefore we get into the man of the hour, Beethoven, let's ease our way into the subject by recalling some other icons that have been whitewashed right before our eyes, yet to this day we still refer to them as such.
Let's start off with a man we're all familiar with: Jesus.
via: Getty ImagesDespite the notable story taking place in the Middle East and his own parents being of Middle Eastern/Arab descent, in every single portrait and story, he was always portrayed as a white man. (He also always had a six-pack, which confused me a lot because I didn't think he would have time to exercise, but I guess he was carved by God?)
And even figures from the Ancient Egyptian era were portrayed as white even though they were African.
via: Getty ImagesQueen Nefertiti is one of the most famous figures to be completely transformed by western media to portray her as a light-skinned woman with Euro-centric features when in reality, she was more likely to be a gorgeous African woman with brown skin and black features.
But the latest figure to have been shockingly whitewashed for centuries is none other than Beethoven.
via: Getty ImagesThat's right, evidence and research from previous years (most notably 2015) highlight that one of the world's most renowned composers was in fact a black man "in disguise."
Back in the 1700s-1800s, black people were not recognized as humans, let alone artists.
via: Getty ImagesSeveral articles including a recent one by The Guardian explores the idea that Beethoven was actually a black man who wore powder on his face and had body doubles for portraits. Keep scrolling to see the pictures for yourself.
Not only this, but his "death mask" clearly shows that his features were not stereotypically "European."
via: Getty ImagesEven though the composer was born in Germany and resided in Austria, it was emphasized that his mother was a North African being born as part of the "Moorish" community.
For those of you that don't know, the Moors were dark-skinned North African Muslims and had direct links to Belgium.
via: Getty ImagesAnd not only this but Beethoven himself picked out one of his prized portraits at the time which represented him best and it was a picture where "his face is broad, his hair is unruly, and his skin is very dark."
The rest of his portraits depicted him as a thin-lipped white man.
via: Getty ImagesCredible sources including his lovers and his family described him at the time associating these particular physical traits to him: - “Wide, thick-lipped mouth, short, thick nose, and proudly arched forehead." - “His face reveals no trace of the German… He was so dark that people dubbed him ‘The Spagnol’ [dark-skinned]." - "Short, stocky, broad shoulders, short neck, round nose, blackish-brown complexion."
And upon unveiling this discovery yet again, the internet just couldn't believe their eyes.
Beethoven was black?? Lmfao y’all aint gonna hear the last of this from me— Alyssa (@Alyssa)1592322662.0
It's heartbreaking that he could not be recognized for who he is.
@sumshitidk @leannaplunkett @howtopless Most likely it was people around him that made him— NahB (@NahB)1592454528.0
And some people agreed with this user:
@howtopless @THEjasminesears I’m gone start assuming famous historical figures are black the same way white people assume they’re white.— Harleen Quinzel (@Harleen Quinzel)1592400672.0
And others couldn't help but point out things about other famous artists.
@YahSeeYah @howtopless Bro what 🤯— professional tree climber (@professional tree climber)1592453695.0
And this user brought up a pretty good point...
@howtopless @Denise4SanAnto Imagine 200 years from now they try to say Michael Jackson was white but our great grea… https://t.co/RBr25qrRYT— Andrew (@Andrew)1592453055.0
Are we really only discovering this now?
@howtopless @1Novek About to start banging Symphony No.1 https://t.co/lnwPJURuEP— Christopher Mosby (@Christopher Mosby)1592442625.0
I mean I don't know what to believe anymore.
@howtopless Found this out as a kid. Blew my mind. Didn’t trust a thing I learned in school after that.— Jazmine Smith, M.S. (@Jazmine Smith, M.S.)1592453845.0
Others have disputed the claims.
@6ixKingRyan @howtopless @agonwastes1 As lit as this would be it’s more than likely not true. He is one of the most… https://t.co/lNjGl1e9wO— 🤡babyclown🤡 (@🤡babyclown🤡)1592461756.0
Here's an image of Beethoven's death mask:
@howtopless @MikePrysner Here is his death mask. Not sure if that helps any but found it interesting. https://t.co/ITBCscgwnP— Jimmy Bryant (@Jimmy Bryant)1592416995.0
And here's the "prized" image of the composer:
BEETHOVEN WAS BLACK?? The plot thickens https://t.co/qQMRiJhfI1— shandin. (@shandin.)1592449879.0
And if you're looking for more information...
via: Getty ImagesClick here if you want to read more about the debate but if not, keep scrolling to see some iconic black figures from history re-imagined by a school teacher.