Chris-Tia Donaldson was the founder of TGIN (Thank God It’s Natural), a beauty entrepreneur and a member of the natural hair community. She died at age 42 Saturday, November 13, 2021. Her niece announced on Instagram Donaldson died.
Aris Singleton, Donaldson’s niece and TGIN’s Finance And Human Resources Manager, posted a video to Donaldson’s personal Instagram page Sunday, November 14, 2021, announcing her death. Singleton opened the video wishing a good afternoon to Donaldson’s followers, calling them “miracle babes.”
Black Enterprise reported Donaldson died “after a long battle with cancer.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Donaldson Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer in 2015 & Wrote a Book About Her Cancer Journey
Donaldson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, according to her TGIN bio. She learned through her battle with cancer that finances can make the difference between death and survival, her bio says.
“During her treatment, she learned that having money could make the difference between living and dying when it came to treating this condition,” her bio says. “In her observation, few organizations existed that provided support and social services to help women with transportation, child care, parking, or seeking disability leave from their place of employment.”
Donaldson wrote a book about her cancer journey, “This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me about Faith, Love, Hair, and Business,” published in 2019.
In Chapter One, she reflects on her life and about whether stress and high expectations of herself may have led to her diagnosis.
Many women are raised with the unrealistic idea of being a superwoman, wanting it all, having their cake, and eating it, too. I’ve pushed myself all my life to be the best, to be number one, to live up to my mother’s legacy, and by some measures, I’d done it. Or so I thought. I always say 2015 was the best and worst year of my life. On March 1st of that year, my company, Thank God It’s Natural (tgin), launched in 250 Target stores. We had an incredible year, and it took the company to a whole new level. On December 16th of that same year, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 invasive ductile breast cancer.
2. The TGIN Foundation Supports Uninsured Women Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
Donaldson’s breast cancer fight prompted her to found the TGIN Foundation to help women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and who do not have health insurance.
“The tgin Foundation’s mission is to support uninsured women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, highlight the impact of health disparities on survivor outcomes, and stress the importance of early detection for women under the age of 40,” the organization’s website says.
The page says African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer.
“In the city of Chicago, black women are 42% more likely to die from breast cancer than the general population,” the page says. “Despite the recent decline in breast cancer mortality within the United States, African American women continue to die from breast cancer at higher rates than women of other races. *Poverty continues to be the primary social factor underlying health disparities.”
3. Donaldson Worked as a Lawyer Representing Fortune 500 Companies & Was a Harvard Graduate
Before Donaldson founded TGIN, she was a lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, according to her TGIN bio. Her focus was on technology and open-source code, guiding businesses through complex transactions, the bio said.
“Prior to starting her own company, Chris-Tia represented Fortune 500 companies in complex business transactions involving technology and open source code,” her bio says. “Chris-Tia earned her A.B. in Economics from Harvard University with high honors, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.”
Her LinkedIn page says she worked as Senior Corporate Counsel for Oracle Corporation for more than 10 years. She got her start in her law career in 2003 as an associate for Sidley Austin, then worked as an associate for Jenner & Block, the page says. She founded TGIN 15 years ago in 2006 and left her position as senior counsel in 2017, the page says.
4. Donaldson’s Niece Described Her as ‘a Leader & a Visionary’ & ‘a Force to Be Reckoned With’
Singleton announced Donaldson’s death with poise, describing the character of her aunt and a determination to carry on her legacy in the video announcing her death.
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. TGIN and the TGIN foundation has lost a leader and a visionary and the world has lost a selfless and beautiful human being. Chris-Tia lived a life of service and was a force to be reckoned with inside and outside of the beauty community. Through her passion and purpose she redefined beauty and created a community of women empowerment teaching us the importance of advocating for ourselves especially our health. The entire TGIN family mourns the tremendous loss. No words can adequately express that sadness or the love we have for her.
Singleton went on to say that Donaldson’s legacy would continue through the company she founded.
“We’ll miss you Chris-Tia,” Singleton wrote in a caption on the video. “Heaven gained its sweetest angel back. We appreciate everyone for the outpouring of love and support for Chris-Tia, and ask that you keep us in your prayers.”
Her followers responded to the announcement with sadness and support.
“I am so sorry to hear this. Heartbroken,” one person wrote. “Chris-Tia was so awesome. My goodness. My most sincere condolences.”
“Sending my deepest prayers and condolences to you she will be missed,” wrote another follower.
The video had nearly 50,000 views Monday, November 15, 2021.
5. TGIN Asked Its Followers to Share Stories About Donaldson as They Use the Day ‘to Reset’
TGIN also announced Donaldson’s death on social media, sharing a memorial video on their official Facebook page Monday, November 15, 2021. The company announced that they were using the day “to reset” after the passing of “the Chris-Tia we loved, admired, and would (and will still) go to the ends of the earth for.”
They asked that those who knew her personally share a story about her. Several people shared personal stories within four hours of the post.
“She was always kind when I saw her at the Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show,” one person wrote. “I remember telling her that she was the only vendor who was nice to me when I attended in 2011; she was so humbled. I made it my business to support her every time she was a vendor. My granny loves the TGIN leave-in conditioner. She calls it ‘the good stuff’ for her hair.”
“I met her in Detroit at the Southfield Mall when she was just starting out, so proud of all her accomplishments. She was so warm and kind. Rest In Sweet Peace,” wrote another person.
“So sad! She was too young! Cancer is a monster!” another person wrote in the comments.