Online and social media reports are saying that Titi Branch, 45, died December 4, due to asphyxiation from an apparent suicide linked to depression. Titi, along with her sister Miko, founded natural hair care product line Miss Jessie’s in 2004. The collection targets curly hair, and is named after their grandmother.
The two took the ethnic hair care category by storm with their homemade concoctions, which included Curly Pudding, Pillow Soft Curls and Coily Custard. In addition to cultivating their line, which is sold in stores such as Target, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, the pair operate Miss Jessie’s salon and retail store, which they opened in July 2010 in Soho. Miss Jessie’s appealed to women of all ethnicities with curly hair, especially women of color with naturally-styled hair.
The company has not yet officially commented on Titi’s death, but tweets from Miko and Miss Jessie’s Twitter handles pay tribute to the businesswoman by simply stating her name, followed by a heart emoticon.
Kristin Booker, freelance journalist and blogger, Fashion.Style.Beauty, recalled her first encounter with Titi, and how a subsequent friendship formed.
“I met Titi on a photo shoot at Refinery29, and she couldn’t have been more kind. After a good amount of time interviewing her, I came to know her beautiful heart and passion for women accepting their own God-given beauty. She influenced me in ways I can’t begin to express, and I’m grateful she made an appearance in my life and the lives of the thousands of women whose beauty she impacted so positively.”
Andrea Arterbery, writer, TheArtOfBery.com, also commented on the tragedy.
“While I did not know her personally, I have always had tons of respect for the hair care brand that she shares with her sister, Miko. It is always refreshing to see minority, entrepreneurial women in the beauty space creating products for women with curly, kinky hair; especially considering that most mainstream hair care brands are just now beginning to create products for our hair type. I do hope that the brand will continue to live on despite Titi’s untimely death and my condolences go out to the family.”
A montage video celebrating Titi, titled My Titi, is posted on Vimeo by Andre Robert Lee, a friend of the family, and director and producer of the documentary “Prep School Negro”.
To view the tribute please click here.