“I am broken. Rest up sis,” her beauty-blogging sister, Vaughn Monroe (aka Msvaughntv), noted on Instagram.
Together, she and Meechy, of Chicago, were known as the Monroe Sisters, advising devoted fans — including their combined 135,000-plus Instagram followers — on the finer points of perfect twist-outs and shea-butter conditioning. They shared their natural-hair experiences at beauty expos, on TV shows, and through their highly trafficked YouTube channels.
“People would come up to me and ask what I did to my hair,” Meechy told the Chicago Tribune in 2014, in recounting how she had chopped off her chemically treated hair after a haircut fail several years earlier. “They’d ask to touch it and I’d let them. I understood that so many black women didn’t know their natural hair. They wanted to learn. I’d stop and have a 20-minute conversation in the train station.”
Eventually, her YouTube channel garnered more than 50,000 subscribers and inspired many fans.
In 2014, Meechy was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer — a tumor in the language center of her brain. As a result, she suffered several strokes and was diagnosed with aphasia, or disruption of language abilities. She underwent two brain surgeries (donating all of her hair to Locks of Love before the first), and went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She celebrated being in remission in 2015, and began sharing details about her recovery with her fans.
But then, wrote a then-pregnant Vaughn in a July 2016 video: “Her tumor returned aggressively in September 2015 so she’s now back fighting her battle all over again, however things are looking up. She is hanging in there and despite her serious illness she is still a bright loving light in my life and keeps me encouraged when I’m going through tough times, like always. Nothing has changed she is the same Meechy. She can’t always respond to me verbally but she is still my favorite person to talk to and because I know how she thinks, I can read her mind, which makes our conversations just like old times.”
Meechy eventually went into hospice care.
Following her death this week, Vaughn told the Chicago Tribune that her sister was “the light of everybody’s life that she touched.”
She added, “People wanted to do more with themselves because of her. They wanted to be beautiful. They wanted to go seek careers for themselves, travel, have pets, cook, and try new things because of her and the influence she had in that space.”
Fellow beauty vlogger NaturallyCandi expressed her sadness over Meechy’s death through tears in a YouTube post this week, noting, “YouTube is like another dimension, and the people who inspired me? I don’t expect them to die. … The natural-hair community has lost someone who was very special — someone who really did inspire and contribute a lot. She inspired me to love myself naturally.”
On Naturally Curly, blogger Solenne wrote about Meechy, “This is a devastating loss for her family, her extended family of the natural hair community, and beyond. Personally I’m so saddened by this. I was wondering how she was doing a few days ago after watching her sister’s vlog. There has been an outpouring of prayers and support across social media over the news. Life is so precious. … Rest In Peace, Queen.”