TO BE BLACK
March 11, 2005
Slavery was a horrible time in history. Black
people were made what I refer to as the designated slaves. How others in the
world arrived at this disgraceful conclusion and implemented it is beyond me.
Each man should have done his own work. Each man
should do his own work. However, for a time it wasn't so. Black people were
bought and sold. Their free, forced labor used to build islands and nations.
Their families torn apart. Their dignity stripped.
However, by the Grace of God, their spirit was
not broken. Blacks survived slavery to become a great people.
It's good to be black.
Throughout history, the accomplishments of blacks
have often been altered, falsely attributed to others or simply ignored by some
Coming from a mixed family I can appreciate
everyone. I'm not militant. I'm not resentful or hateful towards other races, as
in some weird way, due to my complicated lineage, it would be hating myself in
Irrespective of that, even if I didn't come from
mixed lineage, I wouldn't hate anyone anyway, as I am a Christian. I love all
However, I am a black girl,
who coincidentally is a musician. Well, it's no coincidence.
I've loved music since before I was born. My dad
was always playing music, even before I was born. Even when I was growing in my
My musicianship is a gift God gave me that came
very naturally to me.
I perceived music in its purest form. No hype. No
glitter. No glitz. No ambitions of stardom. No pretentious attitude. Just
sitting around as a child listening to my dad's records and appreciating
In addition to other genres, I grew up with an
appreciation of classical music. I later found out two of the greatest classical
music composers in history were black.
Based on many accounts, Ludwig Van Beethoven and
Joseph Haydn were black.
I can't really say I was surprised to find out
that Beethoven was black, as looking at his pictures you see the traces of a
black man - a mixed black man. I have uncles with the same features. They have
that same look.
Looking at his photographs I think to myself -
Beethoven needs some Frizzease. Just joking. However, it was evident from
looking at him that he was indeed black. Here are a few portraits of Beethoven:
Descriptions of Beethoven and his homeboy, Haydn,
allude to the same:
“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.” C.
Czerny stated, “His beard--he had not shaved for several days--made the lower
part of his already brown face still darker.”
The following are one word
descriptions of Beethoven from various writers: Grillparzer, “dark”; Bettina von
Armin, “brown”; Schindler, “red and brown”; Rellstab, “brownish”; Gelinek,
Said of Haydn:
In the middle of the first
allegro of Haydn’s symphony, His Highness asked the name of the author. He was
exclaimed the Prince, ‘the music is by the blackamoor (a black Moor). Well, my
fine blackamoor, henceforth thou art in my service.’
“‘What is thy
By God's grace, black people's
rich cultural heritage brought forth two of the greatest classical music
composers in history. It's good to be black.
In closing, whatever race you are,
celebrate the legacy you've contributed to the world.
Article (text) © Aisha 2005. All
Quoted descriptions of Beethoven
and Haydn and photographs are from Africa Within.