The Brownest Eye


It’s funny because as soon as you’re someone who is not blonde and skinny and you decide to write about beauty, people will usually put you in two categories:

  1. Jealous as fuck.
  2. Self-hating as fuck.

But, whatever. Today I want to write about brown eyes.

I really like brown eyes.

Especially the dark, almost-black brown eyes. 

A couple of years ago, my friend Cathy told me in that her culture, deep dark eyes were seen as absolutely gorgeous, the more the iris of your eyes contrasted with whiteness of your sclera, the more beautiful your eyes were.

If you search “black people” and “eyes” you will immediately be taken to an Images column rife with pictures of blue eyed black people.

I didn’t even specify color when consulting with Mr. Google and this is where he sends me. This is what he thinks I must want to see.

I am not on some black beauty superiority tip.

(That’s reserved for Wednesdays at 2 pm. )

I just really like brown eyes.

And no one really talks about them.

Especially if you are a brown or black person.

Growing up, I remember the only times I heard people lavish a brown or black kid with praise over their eyes was when they were:

grey. or. blue. or. hazel. or green. maybe a light honey.

Never brown.

And never, ever dark, almost-black brown.

In hip hop, the refrain of honey, with the light eyes… is standard musical fare.

I think most of us have been around the block enough to know that white supremacy is to blame for this.

But, I think instead of spending time rifling through that old can of garbage, I’d like to just admire you, my brown eyed people.

Someone once raised the argument with me, when I brought up how annoying it is that brown eyed people don’t get props:

Well, blue eyes are just rare, especially on people who aren’t white.

And I was like, true. It is kinda rare.

But, c’mon, there are a lot of rare traits that are unexpected because of someone’s phenotype, that we don’t laud with ooh-and-ahs and thatoneisgonnabealittleheartbreaker one day. That we don’t dedicate hash-tags for on social media.


Besides, I recently had a student of mine share something with me that was super interesting: he told me depending on the culture, there are certain colors that are just not seen because the people of that culture have no words for these colors.

So, there are blues and reds and purples that we see here in the USA that others cannot.

And vice versa:

There are greens and yellows and oranges that people in Bolivia or Namibia may see that we cannot.

We just don’t have the words.

(There’s even a study on it.)

So, maybe we don’t even have words really for the degrees and nuances of brown and black.

Maybe we are actually kinda speechless when it comes to those deep, almost-black brown eyes.

What I really want to say is:

Your eyes are beautiful. They deserve compliments and comparisons to night skies, the richness of soil, barely moonlit oceans, and unknown galaxies.

They deserve mention in clever hip hop odes and long descriptions in romance novels and camera close ups on Instagram.

When you hear, “She had such pretty eyes,” you deserve to wonder if the eyes in question are brown.

Just like yours.

You deserve to wax on and on about celebrities with bright, winking, sultry, innocent, ridiculously stunning brown eyes.

(Famous eyes I love:

Diana Ross, Lakeith Stanfield, Tyson Beckford, Regina Hall, Freddie Prinze Jr. Hasan Minhaj, Philomena Kwao…)

There are so many beautiful people we are privy to nowadays in our image saturated world. It used to be that we had to at least wait until we turned on the TV, opened up the magazine.

Now, they appear in our hands, smiling or pouting at us from the rectangular screen in our palms whether you asked them to be there or not.

Thanks Instagram.

Still, there was one day when I was just dumbstruck by this young beauty as I was lazily scrolling through my feed.

I can’t post the photo here, since I don’t like being sued, but you can see it on my IG.

It wasn’t the smooth, dark black skin or the full, wide mouth, the head full of digitally perfected black-girl-curls.

It was her eyes.

Deep, almost-black brown eyes that were piercing and smart and deep. They looked like eyes that have seen some magic or know how to pretend very well they may just find it yet.

They were the kind of eyes I think poetry should be written for.

If no one has told you today (or ever):

I love your brown eyes. 

I’m not saying this in one of those reactive blue-eyes-are-the-devil type ways either.

I just think you have pretty eyes.

And I hope you can remember that too and tell yourself over and over if you don’t believe it.

But, you totally should.








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