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Titi Branch Celebrates Being Named Two Of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 (Cindy Ord Getty Images Entertainment), January 2012.

Titi Branch, the co-founder of the successful natural haircare line Miss Jessie’s, has died. According to an obituary that was released by NV Magazine, Branch reportedly passed away on December 4 from an apparent suicide due to asphyxia. Prior to starting her own business the Queens-bred entrepreneur worked as a field producer for WABC-TV in New York City. She then went on to start a booking agency for hair and celebrity photographers called Icon Creative Artists. After launching Miss Jessie’s with her sister Miko Branch, the brand evolved into one of the premier hair care lines in the natural hair industry. Miko Branch and the Miss Jessie’s brand took to Twitter yesterday to remember Titi. Branch was 45-years-old. Read more.


Award-Winning Photojournalist Dies in Liberia

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post photojournalist Michel du Cille has passed away. Du Cille reportedly died in Liberia while covering the Ebola outbreak for The Post. The photographer had a longtime battle with multiple myeloma bone cancer. His pre-existing health condition is thought to be the cause of this death. Du Cille broke barriers for African Americans in the realm of photography. He was the only African American to have won three Pulitzer Prizes for his work with the Miami Herald and Washington Post. His wife, Washington Post photographer Nikki Kahn, recently took to Facebook to reflect on her husband’s death. “Deep in my heart and soul I know that Michel died doing what he loved! Giving voice to a story he felt compelled to do with all HIS heart and soul,” she wrote. Read more.


Study Shows Darker-Skinned Girls Are Punished More in School

According to data from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education, dark-skinned black girls are reprimanded more than light-skinned black girls and white girls in school. Between 2011 and 2012, African American girls in public elementary and secondary schools were suspended at a rate of 12 percent; only 2 percent of white girls were suspended. In Georgia the ratio of black girls and white girls being suspended is 5 to 1. According to researchers, within the group of African American girls that are suspended, darker-skinned girls are punished more than light-skinned girls. “The message we send when we suspend or expel any student is that that student is not worthy of being in the school,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education. “That is a pretty ugly message to internalize and very, very difficult to get past as part of an educational career.” Read more.


D’Angelo Releases New Album after 15 Year Hiatus

After taking a hiatus from the music industry, Virginia-born and bred singer D’Angelo has released his first studio album in nearly 15 years. Taking cues from Beyoncé, the singer released a surprise album titled “Black Messiah,” which is now available on iTunes. D’Angelo said this body of work is dedicated to those who have tried to evoke change in their communities. The album couldn’t have come at a more fitting time as protests are being held around the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner across the country. “It’s a passion project, and it’s everything,” he said. “I really don’t want to give a hyperbolic, grandiose statement, but it’s everything.” Read more.

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