Titi Branch was a woman who could not be missed. Her explosion of gorgeous blonde highlighted curls made you take notice and say, “Who is she?!” When I first saw Miss Jessie’s co-founders, Miko and Titi Branch, I immediately said, “Damn, I’ll have some of what they’re having.” I discovered Miss Jessie’s during my short-lived stint as a long-haired naturalista. I was always on the hunt for products that would make my super-fine hair do things that it was not naturally inclined to do. I admired the sisters and their story, who took their home whipped hair concoctions and grew them into a successful startup with a product carried by national chains and a veritable lifestyle brand. The two of them seemed to be living a perfect dream– sisters working together and building wealth and acclaim.
I heard the news of Titi’s passing, an apparent suicide, via a middle of the night Facebook update. The Bloggers Like Me network is a community of multicultural women throughout the country who share experiences and advice about life, business and of course, blogging. The BLM Facebook group is always a hot bed of activity and the news hit the group, some of whom are natural hair bloggers, pretty hard. She was someone who brought our beauty to the mainstream and helped to give women permission to love their hair. To me, the loss felt like another defeat.
Depression can be like a ghost. It follows you around, lurking in the shadows, hidden to everyone’s eyes but yours. Sometimes, it’s hard to acknowledge that what you feel is real and choose, instead, to keep it hidden, tucked out of sight, away from people’s prying eyes and solicitous questions. I know that feeling. I have been deep inside of that feeling. So when I hear about another celebrity suicide, another death of someone I admire, I hang my head and cry. Sometimes, it feels like the darkness always manages to win.
Fortunately, there is help available. If you or a loved one are struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). People are there. Help is available.
Love and peace to the family of Titi Branch.