Like I do most Mondays, I grabbed my morning herbal tea and sat down at my laptop to begin sifting through emails from the weekend, as my iPhone buzzed with a picture attachment and text message beaming. I picked up my phone, and within seconds my heart sank as I read the news from a fellow mental-health advocate that Titi Branch, the co-founder of Miss Jessie's natural hair products, died by suicide. (Please note that it is most appropriate to use the terminology "died by suicide" as opposed to "committed suicide"; Terrie Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting, further discusses the implications and differences between the two phrases here.)
I fondly knew Titi as one half of the sister duo that was at the forefront of the black natural hair movement. With her beautiful, curly, blonde 'fro, Titi and her sister Miko encouraged women to embrace their natural beauty, kinks and curls and all.