While more details are still forthcoming, news broke late Sunday evening on social media that Titi Branch, co-founder of the famed curly haircare brand Miss Jessie’s had passed away. Born on June 10th, 1969, Titi Cree Branch died on December 4th, 2014 in what online media publication NV Magazine is calling an apparent suicide due to asphyxia. While we are awaiting a formal statement from Miko Branch or representatives for Miss Jessie’s, it has been confirmed that Titi Branch is no longer with us.
Various friends and acquaintances of the Branch sisters have expressed their sentiments about Titi’s passing on social media, including one friend who shared via Facebook, “It is a tragic moment in time. The family got together today and we celebrated Titi. The love was intense.” A video tribute titled My Titi by Andre Robert Lee set against the backdrop of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s Before I Let Go can be viewed below, and closes with a final look at Branch’s obituary. Titi’s sister Miko sent out a tweet yesterday, “Titi <3″ to her followers as well.
Titi Branch began her career in natural hair care in 1997, when she opened Curve Salon in Brooklyn, New York with her sister Miko. It was at this salon that Titi played an integral role in shaping the natural hair landscape for years to come. Titi developed, named, and popularized the “shingling” method — a method many naturals (including myself) utilize to thoroughly distribute product and define curls. Although she wielded a degree in Consumer Economics from University of Maryland, Titi became the driving force behind Miss Jessie’s transformation into a natural household name with her creativity and kitchen experimentation. In 2004, she developed Curly Pudding, the first Miss Jessie’s product to be sold in their salon (which in 2005 was re-named for their family matriarch, Miss Jessie). Other formulations and product soon followed, including Curly Meringue, Curly Buttercreme, and Baby Buttercreme.
What started out with two sisters, a salon, and a jar of pudding, has blossomed into a comprehensive curl care line of over a dozen products — including my personal favorite, Pillow Soft Curls. With Titi’s contributions, Miss Jessie’s products grew beyond the salon, and fill the shelves of Target stores, CVS, Ricky’s, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Walmart, and other beauty retailers.
Due to the details surrounding Titi Branch’s death being unconfirmed, we at Black Girl Long Hair will not speculate on the cause or circumstances that lead to her passing. We do, however, send an outpouring of love, support, prayers, and positive vibes to Miko and the rest of the Branch family as they mourn the loss of their beloved.
Titi was a pioneer and trailblazer in her on right, and her contributions to the natural hair industry will not soon be forgotten. Rest in power, peace, and love, Titi.
Because this is a sensitive subject matter and there are friends, family, and fans openly grieving the loss of Titi Branch, we ask that readers refrain from negative, controversial, or inflammatory comments.