The natural hair community suffered a great loss over the weekend. Chris-Tia Donaldson, founder of Thank God It’s Natural (TGIN) and TGIN Foundation passed away Saturday evening. The news was confirmed in a video posted by Donaldson’s niece, finance and HR manager, Aris Singleton.
In the video, Aris describes Chris-Tia as “a leader and visionary who was a force to be reckoned with inside and outside of the beauty community.” She went on to say that Chris-Tia “redefined beauty and created a community of women empowerment. Teaching us the importance of advocating for ourselves, especially our health.”
Tributes began pouring in shortly after the video was posted. With followers and natural hair leaders offering their condolences and sharing fond memories. Many of them commented on Chris-Tia’s impact, her kindness to others, and how she was an inspiration to all.
For 15 years, Detroit-native, Chris-Tia Donaldson educated women on embracing their curls. In 2009, she wrote her first book, “Thank God I’m Natural”. A book she described as “the ultimate guide for caring for natural hair.” And in 2013, launched her TGIN brand of natural hair products.
Across the country and in South Africa, Chris-Tia spread messages on caring for hair. Building a grassroots following from trade shows, churches, libraries, bookstores, and meetups. To date, her products can be found in Target, Ulta, Walmart, and Whole Foods.
A two-time breast cancer survivor, Chris-Tia’s greatest impact was her TGIN Foundation. A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting uninsured women undergoing breast cancer treatment. Through the TGIN Foundation, Chris-Tia also partnered with Lyft. Providing reliable transportation to breast cancer patients undergoing treatment or receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.
In 2019, Chris-Tia wrote her second book, “This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught me about Faith, Love, Hair, and Business”. In it, she shared lessons from being a Black woman in Corporate America and navigating her first breast cancer diagnosis. Her book also served as a source of motivation for readers. Encouraging them to define success on their own terms.
Earlier this year, Chris-Tia was selected by The Chicago Defender as a Woman of Excellence. An honor recognizing Black women and their contributions to their communities. In a recent interview with the Defender, she said that her legacy was to continue being an influence in her employees’ lives. Saying, “I want my employees to be the best that they can be.”
Chris-Tia will be remembered for being a trailblazer in the natural hair community. Someone who broke barriers for future Black women entrepreneurs. And an influence to all.
Contributing Writer Racquel Coral is a national lifestyle writer and journalist based in Chicago, Illinois. Find her on all social media platforms @withloveracquel.