During 2014, we unfortunately lost three important women known for encouraging us to embrace our beauty and accept our curls. They each had their own unique style and way of inspiring us based on their personal experiences as Black women. Without them, 2015 will not be the same.
In April of 2014, Domineque Banks, known to many as LongHairDon’tCare2011 on YouTube, passed away after complications brought on by lupus. Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, painful joints, anemia, and hair loss. Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians. Domineque suffered with the disease for a long time and after a heart attack, was put on life support and passed way with her partner by her side.
In this same month last year, Karyn Washington, founder of “For Brown Girls“, committed suicide. She was only 22 years old. Sadly, we lost a powerful example of someone who promoted self love and acceptance of one’s skin color. She even took on A$AP Rocky when he made negative comments about dark skinned women who wear red lipstick by creating the hashtag #DarkSkinRedLip. Women with dark skin posted selfies wearing red lipstick to counter A$AP’s negative message.
In December of 2014, we learned of the passing of Titi Branch co-founder of Miss Jessie’s natural hair products. After her passing, there was speculation that Titi took her own life after suffering from depression. Miss Jessie’s natural hair product line is a pioneer in the natural hair movement. They have existed for many year with much success for natural hair products like their Curly Pudding.
Each of these women touched the lives of so many with their inspiring passion for natural hair. Their encouragement and words of wisdom about appreciating one’s own hair and beauty has inspired many women of color. I’m certain that losing such beautiful pioneers in the natural hair community has greatly impacted the movement. My prayers and sincere wishes of healing go out to all the families and loved ones of the amazing women we lost last year.
It seemed as though both Titi’s and Karyn’s struggles went unnoticed, as it does most of the time within the Black community. Women especially, are expected to put on a mask of confidence, happiness, and the appearance of having it all together, even when they are in the midst of pain. Black people may also believe that seeking professional help, like counseling, is not for them. However, asking for help is a sign of strength and a step towards healing yourself.
If you are experiencing depression or having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat with a counselor online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
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