On April 7, at the age of 27, Domineque Banks, aka “Longhairdontcare2011,” passed away from complications with lupus. In this post, I will reflect on what her death has taught me.
I’ve been natural for four years, and during my first two years relaxer free, I spent countless hours on YouTube trying to learn all I could about natural hair.
I probably only had about 6 inches of hair at the time, so discovering Domineque Banks, aka Longhairdontcare2011, provided me with so much inspiration to continue on my natural hair journey.
Along with other vloggers like Rustic Beauty, African Export, NikkiMae2003, Crown of His Glory, Prettydimples, and kimmaytube, she helped me to see that Black hair does grow and can be styled beautifully.
At this time, I was really enamored by hair journey videos because I loved to see the progression. This was how I came across Domineque’s hair journey video from 2004-2009. It taught me that I had to be patient with my hair.
Domineque got a lot of flack from other natural women for heat training her hair. If you don’t know, heat training is the process of using heat, whether it be via blow dryer or flat iron, to permanently loosen the curl pattern of hair. Among other benefits, it makes hair easier to detangle. Domineque used a blow dryer and a flat iron to heat train her hair.
The use of heat is a very taboo topic within the natural hair community. It was even more taboo three years ago, when the natural hair movement was in its infancy. For some people, heat training your hair meant that you were not appreciative of the texture you were born with, and this went against the point of “going natural.” Moreover, it is widely known that heat breaks down the protein in hair and can cause breakage.
Nevertheless, Domineque continued to heat train her hair and, at times, she appeared annoyed at people who questioned her hair choices. I would be annoyed to.
This brings me to the first main thing I learned from Domineque’s passing:
Domineque is no longer hair with us. In light of this, such arguments, whether it be about heat use, colour use, or regarding hair texture, seem extremely trivial and irrelevant.
It seems that in the past year or so, people have not been commenting as much on Dominque’s use of heat on her hair. It may be because people saw that her hair continued to grow, so their arguments were pointless. (It’s important to note that what worked for Domineque may not necessarily work for you. Heat does weaken protein in hair. Her hair is obviously strong.)
But my overall point here is, how has her decision to heat train her hair affected anybody but herself? Although it seems as if that natural hair community has become more open-minded towards the various ways people wear and do their natural hair, people still have a lot opinions regarding what other people should to do their hair.
Heat usage, colour usage, and differences in hair texture should not separate us. There is no one way to be natural.
The next thing I learned from Domineque passing is that you never know what persons are going through behind the camera. When I logged on to Facebook and saw that “Longhairdontcare2011” had died, I was shocked.
I don’t think she mentioned that she had lupus. What I knew about Domineque is that, at some point, she was training to be a dental hygienist. This was appealing to me because, at the time, I had plans to become a dentist. I also knew that she has a sister who had natural hair as well.
Other than these two things, I knew nothing about Domineque. That’s just it. When we look at YouTubers, most of the time, all we see is someone who makes YouTube videos.
The more I think about, the more I realize that there may be YouTubers who are suffering from depression, or are victims of domestic violence or rape. I believe many persons are using YouTube as an outlet, a form of therapy if you will.
It’s important that we see YouTubers as human. The fact that many of us don’t is illustrated in the nasty comments left in the comment box that are very abusive.
My sympathy and prayers go out to Domineque’s family, friends, and anyone who was affected by her death. Her presence was felt in the natural hair community. The fundraiser her friend set up, surpassed its goal of $10,000, raising upwards of $17,000 to pay for funeral and cremation costs.
May Domineque’s soul rest in peace.