After a long battle with Lupus, natural hair guru and YouTube vlogger, Domineque Banks, aka, “Long Hair Don’t Care2011” passed away on April 9, 2014. Banks suffered a heart attack and was placed on life support, not being able to breathe on her own. She passed away with her partner by her side.
There is no doubt that Domineque Banks has touched the lives of so many with her inspiring natural hair journey that she so thoroughly documented on YouTube, spanning more than ten years. Her words of wisdom about appreciating one’s own hair and style, as well as her tutorial videos, have garnered millions of hits on YouTube and inspired many women of color to consider going natural. She is considered by some to be one of the first natural hair vloggers to do their thing (and do it well) on YouTube.
The loss of such a beautiful cornerstone to the natural hair movement has greatly impacted the natural hair community – to the point that the GiveForward online fundraiser, started by Banks’s partner and friend to cover funeral costs, surpassed its original goal of $10,000 in a day.
Natural hair and health vloggers including HeyFranHey, Jouelzy, Afrobella, KimmayTube, and CoachPCare eulogized Banks on social networks like Twitter, recalling her beautiful spirit and how incredibly young and vibrant she was. This outpouring of love and remembrance has shown, yet again, how much bigger the natural hair community is than just a focus on hair. It is so much larger than aesthetics.
Where there is hurt, the spirit of the community rushes to heal. Where there is need, the community rushes to aid. The silly, would-be rifts and rivalries between hair textures and curl patterns fall by the wayside when it comes down to what is most important. Domineque’s legacy lends itself to that spirit of care and sisterhood in a very big way.
That in itself is a huge lesson, today, when women of color are constantly being thrown curveballs, constantly pushed to seek division. We can learn a huge lesson from these women in their fervent support of Banks and her family. At the end of the day, all we have is each other. At the end of the day, sisterhood is a large part of what sustains us. And at the end of the day, honoring one another in word and in deed is what will continue to strengthen us for the road ahead and the life left to live.
May Domineque rest in peace and know that her mission to encourage women to embrace their own natural beauty will not fade, but has been taken up by those she impacted and will continue on, held high as our banner and the tie that binds us, in sisterhood.
La Truly is a writer, college professor and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color.