The movement has continued to grow. In April, women cheered Michelle Obama’s decision to wear her hair naturally, and in February, Halle Berry arrived at the Oscars with natural curls.
Ms. Monroe recorded every inch of her progress, starting with a moment she — and many others making the transition — referred to as the “big chop.” Once she began to grow bouncy corkscrew curls, she said, women stopped her on the street: Did she like going natural? How did she maintain such a neat look? Did men still find her attractive?
She realized there was a world of women seeking guidance and said that “being natural means much more than just a look.”
“It says, for one, that you’re accepting of who you are, how you were created, and that you have the confidence to go against the norm,” she said in her first video, in 2010.
Ms. Monroe talked about transitions as a revolution for women freeing themselves from a lifetime of hot combs, perms and extensions, said her sister, Vaughn Colquitt, who also has a beauty channel on YouTube.
“It’s a huge step; it’s scary,” Ms. Colquitt said. “People cry through those phases.”
Ms. Monroe’s signature style was a “twist out” that involved twisting sections of her hair together with leave-in conditioner overnight and then untwisting and fluffing them into curls. There was also the “messy updo,” a “roll and tuck” and a “swoop to the back side puff.” Ms. Monroe demonstrated each step in front of her computer at home.
The videos took off, with some garnering more than a million views. Beauty brands began calling with endorsements, and in 2014, the sisters were hired to promote the American hair care company Huetiful in Paris.
“She became a celebrity in no time,” Ms. Moore said. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, do we need a bodyguard for you?’”
Meechy Monroe was born Tameka Marie Moore on April 29, 1985, in Chicago. Her mother is an accountant; her father, Alexander Moore, is a retired warranty officer for the Chicago Transit Authority. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.
In addition to her parents and Ms. Colquitt, she is survived by two other sisters, Katara Giles and Alexandria Moore; a grandfather, Grant Kelly; and a step-grandmother, Rosalind Kelly.
Ms. Colquitt gave Ms. Monroe the nickname Meechy in high school, and she chose the last name Monroe as an ode to Marilyn Monroe.
In 2014, Ms. Monroe had multiple strokes and was found to have aphasia, a language disorder that is caused by brain damage. In preparation for brain surgery that year, she shaved the curls that had turned her into a local celebrity and donated them to the nonprofit Locks of Love. A tumor was found during the procedure, and she received a diagnosis of brain cancer.
Through her chemotherapy treatments, she continued to promote the natural hair movement.
“I lost all my hair, I had the worst year of my life,” she told People magazine in 2015. “But you know what? I’m still the same person.”