Rest In Love: Remembering Miss Jessie’s Co-Founder Titi Branch
The natural hair world was rocked with the breaking news of one of its own, Titi Branch, co-founder of the popular hair brand Miss Jessie’s, passing away from suicide in 2014.
Earlier that same year, founder of For Brown Girls and #DarkSkinRedLip died in an apparent suicide. People have been sending messages of love and shock, along with her sister who posted:
— Miko Branch (@MikoBranch) December 14, 2014
No one felt the pain of Titi’s death as much as her sister, best friend and business partner Miko Branch, who has claimed that Titi’s boyfriend Anthony Spadafora drove her to hang herself, reports the New York Post.
Branch was discovered in her apartment on December 4, three weeks before Christmas. Miko claims that Spadafora took advantage of Titi’s “disabling” depression to isolate her from her family, milk her out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and force her to name him as the beneficiary of her $2 million life-insurance policy.
Spadafora, 43, who met Titi on Match.com in 2012, says the accusations are “ridiculous.” Calling Miko the “bully of Brooklyn,” he claims that she had been the beneficiary of Titi’s multi-million dollar policy but a bitter falling out caused Titi to transfer it to him.
“My sister’s death has been a devastating blow,” she told The NY Post. “It was only after Titi’s death that we learned more about what she’d been going through and how her affairs were being managed.”
Miko claimed that Spadafora “wielded exceptional control over [her] while fully aware that her mental health was severely compromised,” referring to Titi’s “disabling” depression.
In just two years Spadafora, managed to “extract” hundreds of thousands of dollars from Titi to launch his own beard-care business, Maestro’s Classics; $420,000 to buy and renovate a Pennsylvania house; and a $135,000 interest-free loan.
But Spadafora said that Titi’s inability to have a baby, even after multiple rounds of in-vitro fertilization, caused her sink into a deep, dark depression.
“My love failed. I thought it was good enough if there wasn’t a baby,” he said tearfully.
In 1997, sisters Titi and Miko opened Miss Jessie’s Salon in response to the demand for experts in natural hair and naturally curly hair. Their experience with curls started over 20 years ago.
Born into a multi-cultural family, having a mother who was Japenese and a father who was African American left the girls with a head of multi-textured hair. Titi was very disappointed about the lack of salons and products that catered to her and her sister’s textured hair, which led Miss Jessie’s to be a major staple in the natural hair community.
Miss Jessie’s was one of the first major hair care lines to hit the shelves of a major big-box retailer at the height of the curly girl movement. Their products soon could be found in…