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Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The diversity of human features is something to be celebrated, as it reflects the rich tapestry of our shared existence. Black people are known to carry distinct features that often captivate those who encounter our melanated magic. From our beautiful tresses to our tall and strong physical statures, being Black is a blessing, and some of us carry some fascinating physical traits.

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A small population of Black people across the world have green eyes, which is a rarity in and of itself. People who carry the outstanding trait account for only two percent of the global population. The presence of green eyes among black individuals offers a visual testament to the beauty and uniqueness that can emerge from the blending of various genetic traits.

Portrait of afro woman with green eyes

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The Genetics Behind Green Eyes

The color of our eyes is determined by the amount and distribution of melanin, a pigment that also influences our skin and hair color. While brown eyes are the most common, green eyes are the result of a unique combination of genetic factors. The specific gene is responsible for green eye color is called OCA2, a small protein located in melanocytes that cells use to produce pigment, otherwise known as melanin, according to The Coolist.

However, the presence of green eyes in black individuals is not solely determined by this gene but is often a result of a complex interplay of various genetic factors. The genetic phenomenon can also be directly linked to ancestry. For example, the people of Melanesia, who are known for their striking blond hair and blue and green eyes, are said to have inherited their features from various settlers that passed through the island.

Some researchers believe that the mutation likely originated from people near the northwest part of the Black Sea region where a heavy presence of agricultural migration occurred toward the northern part of Europe about 10,000 years ago. According to Professor Hans Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the area was heavily inhabited by “fair-skinned, blond-haired Scandinavians” and “dark-skinned, blue-eyed people living in Turkey and Jordan,” all of whom passed the OCA2 gene.

Extreme Close up Serious Headshot Landscape Portrait of young mixed race male face with green eyes facial hair and rasta hair

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In addition to melanin,  diet was also a key factor associated with the unique trait.

In 2014, a team of scientists discovered the 7,000-year-old skeletal remains of an African stone-age hunter who appeared to have possessed the OCA2 gene. Dr. Lalueza-Fox, the lead author of a paper on the discovery in Nature told Forbes, that she believes he developed his unique eye color due to his diet. Pre-farming humans were known to have eaten a heavy diet “filled with vitamin D from eating meat, fish, and eggs, while early agriculturalists would have relied more on sunlight,” the scientist said.

Black people with green eyes serve as a testament to the diversity and individuality within the Black community and have been widely celebrated. Hollywood stars like Tyra Banks, Robert Richard and La La Anthony possess the beautiful trait. One could argue that people who possess the beautiful feature help to challenge stereotypes and promotes a broader understanding of what it means to be Black. Just as no two individuals are alike, the varied features and characteristics within the Black community demonstrate the multifaceted nature of humanity itself.


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