Chris-Tia Donaldson’s Message Of Self-Love Lives On

During the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we honor Chris-Tia Donaldson’s message and brand of self-love which has never faded.

Chris Tia Donaldson's legacy continues

Lengthy, shiny hair that bounces as you flip it — of course its straight and tangle-free. That’s how beautiful hair was described on the glossy pages of magazines and the moving pictures on the living room TV. Black women were told that their hair needs to be long, straight and light colored. This narrative has been embedded deep, but it only took one person to embrace their curls and, with enough courage, took a leap of faith that she wasn’t the only one who felt love for her God-given beauty.

Chris-Tia Donaldson built an empire: TGIN

Hair kinky, curly or wavy

“15 years ago, there were very few products for women who wanted to wear their hair kinky, curly or wavy,” Chris-Tia Donaldson told the Jam TV show during the 2018 Small Business Week back in 2018. “I wanted to feel confident in my curls and sophisticated in the workplace.” A Harvard-educated lawyer who has helped businesses navigate the labyrith of corporate law needed still felt she needed to be more confident. And she discovered that she wasn’t alone. “I also found that people also wanted to be comfortable with the things they were putting on their bodies in terms of ingredients,” she said. Thus, she took the leap from corporate law to diving in a whole another industry. She was on a mission to make Black women feel beautiful in their curls by providing them what the beauty world neglected for such a long time: the encouragement to feel beautiful with their natural hair.

She built an empire: TGIN, short for Thank God It’s Natural. Her message of self-love and embracing your own kinky and curly hair — in stark contrast with the insecurity-driven message of mainstream ads — resonated with a lot women. Her line of hair care products lines the shelves of retail giants like Target, Ulta Beauty and Walgreens.

Breast Cancer

Her inspiring message only glowed brighter amid a trying time of Chirs-Tia’s life. At the height of her empire’s growth — with TV appearances, interviews and brand engagements lined up to help spread the word about TGIN and her message of self-love — she felt a lump on her breast. “I was actually taking a shower and noticed it then. Initially, I thought it was hormonal-related. I had a cyst removed from my breast in my 20s,” she said in an interview. “Given my age and the fact that I felt perfectly healthy, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. After two to three months passed, I made an appointment to see my doctor.”She opted for an aggressive treatment which involved 33 rounds of radiation, eight sessions of chemotherapy and a surgical removal of the lump. “When I first found out I would have to have chemotherapy, it was both a shock and disappointing because I run a hair care company, and I would be loosing my hair,” she revealed in a sit down interview for TGIN. Instead of hiding from the spotlight despite the irony of a hair care mogul loosing her hair, she released her book with her on the cover proudly wearing her fully bare scalp and smile with the words “This Is Only a Test” written at the bottom. After two years of struggle, she was back on her feet. She courageously shared her story, and her message was unwavering: self-love.

Chris-Tia Donaldson passed away on the evening of Saturday, November 13

But a battle won with cancer does not mean a triumph over the war. Last year, “It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our Founder and CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson on the evening of Saturday, November 13,” Aris Singleton, Chris-Tia’s niece and TGIN’s finance and human resource manager, announced on the brand’s Instagram page.


It has been over a year, but her message and brand of self-love never faded. Her products continue to not only line the shelves of the largest retailers in the country, but also fill the digital carts of women who wants to unapologetically feel good with their natural hair. Many women continued to spread the message of self-love she ignited — not only do they say it, but they live it. And for every Black woman who feels empowered on the workplace, Chris-Tia’s legacy continues to live on.  

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