Hairitage is a conference that focuses on the history of afro textured hair through the African diaspora. Through a series of 12-15 individual workshop sessions, participants explore the multifaceted history of afro-textured hair, and discuss the social implications of today’s beauty standards and gender “norms.”   

At the closing of the conference, participants are ushered into a reception to celebrate Black and Afro-Latin art and culture. Through the three and a half hour reception, attendees will be able to experience entrepreneurship by local vendors, artistic expression through visual graphic designs and spoken word performances, as well as fine cuisine which are all staples of the Black and Latin Community.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Livingston Student Center. Check out the recap of Hairitage 2017! Join in on the conversation and up to the minute updates on our Hairitage Facebook event page.    

Conference Schedule

Attendee Check-In

12PM – 12:30PM, Livingston Student Center, Concourse

Welcome Address

12:45PM, Livingston Student Center, Multipurpose Room

Keynote Address

1:00PM-1:50PM, Livingston Student Center, Multipurpose Room
Chris-tia Donaldson, CEO of TGIN products

Sessions Block 1

2:00PM-2:50PM, Student Center Room Locations

Sessions Block 2

3:00PM-3:50PM, Student Center Room Locations

Sessions Block 3

4:00PM-4:50PM, Student Center Room Locations


5:00PM-8:30PM, Livingston Student Center, Multipurpose Room
The closing reception will celebrate the African Diaspora through culture, art, and food. There will also be an opportunity to support local Black and Latinx businesses through vendors.

Keynote Speaker: Chris-Tia Donaldson, CEO of TGIN Products


Chris-Tia Donaldson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thank God It’s Natural (tgin), a manufacturer of natural hair and skin care products, currently sold in Target, Whole Foods, Sally’s Beauty, and Walgreen’s. In her role, she oversees all aspects of day-to-day operations, sales, and strategic partnerships. Under Chris-Tia’s leadership, the company plans to expand into healthy snacks, cookbooks, supplements, and fitness apparel.

Chris-Tia has been featured in major media publications such as USA Today, Marie Claire, Essence, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Heart & Soul, and the Chicago Tribune. Her book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Natural Hair is a #1 Amazon bestseller, and was hailed the “Natural Hair Bible” by Essence Magazine.

Prior to starting her own company, Chris-Tia represented Fortune 500 companies in complex business transactions involving technology and open source code. Chris-Tia is also a breast cancer survivor and is deeply committed to raising awareness of this condition and the benefits of early detection among women of color.. Chris-Tia earned her A.B. in Economics from Harvard University with high honors, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

For updates about Chris-Tia, follow her on:

Facebook (www.facebook.com/thankgodimnatural)
Twitter (@tginatural)
Instagram (@tginatural)

Spoken Word Performers

Stephen Alexander

Oliver Colbert

Tiana Marie Ford

Aleya Pierce

More Information

Committee Members:

  • Kaicherise Alexander, Jorge Almonte-Florimon, Kevin Castigliano
  • Kaelin Conover, Brian Cousin, Tiana Marie Ford, Clifford Frazier
  • Rosemary Genao, Paige Hammond, Courtland James, Ariel Leget
  • Thomas Michael, Maggie Muller, Modinat Sanni
  • Kiyanna Stewart, Silismar Suriel, Karima Woodyard

Block One Sessions

The Fade: Male Grooming and Masculinity⎢This session raises the question of how society truly defines masculinity. Analyze how we present, confirm, or questions about masculinity in this discussion.

Masc-Off (the female barber)⎢Have you ever seen a female barber give a sharp cut? Did you question her ability to cut a guy’s hair? She may not be who you typically see in the barber shop, but she’s there to stay. This session looks at how the female barber navigates this male-dominated industry, where she may face adversity through the double standard applied to her gender.

Reclaiming Pelo Malo⎢Curly, kinky, afro-textured hair is often referred to as “pelo malo”, or bad hair, in the Latinx community, forcing Afro-Latinxs to conform to the straight hair beauty standards. However, with the recent hair movement, many Afro-Latinxs are reclaiming “pelo malo” and embracing their roots. This session will speak about the Afro-Latinx hair movement, and “pelo malo” transformation over time.

Don’t Touch My Hair⎢A conversation about social etiquette regarding the exoticism of afro textured hair. This session aims to review varying perspectives around questions of touching hair, as well as query the line between curiosity and respect.

History of the Hair Movement⎢ From the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s to today, afro-textured hair has been a symbol of black pride. How else has hair played a role in activism? This session takes you through the challenges and successes of the many eras of hair, not the least important era being the one we’re in today.

Block Two Sessions

Barber Shop Talk⎢When a barber shapes up your hair, he also shapes up your head. What does this mean? The barber shop has historically been a place where men of color get a mental health check – a place to discuss what’s going on in their lives and in the world, and how they feel about it all. This session takes you into the barber shop where masculinity is constructed and young Afro-Latinx and black men have learned what it means to be men.

Understanding Your Hair⎢Why is some hair curly and some hair straight? Some smooth and some rough? This session will address the science of hair structure and how to properly care and maintain your hair.

TRANSitioning⎢An informative session addressing the impact of hair in its relation to the trans and gender non-conforming community (TGNC) and the process of transitioning. This session will also discuss the unique challenges that face TGNC  and how understanding can be an avenue for healing.

Cream of the CropAre you an aspiring entrepreneur? Have you ever wondered what it really takes would be like to start your own business? Hear from an inspiring entrepreneur and Rutgers alum on how she started and maintained her own line of natural products for hair and skin.

Relaxers and Rolos⎢ You’re Latinx? Why is your hair so curly? Afro-Latinx people are often neglected in conversations about the Black experience, but these identities are more related than you may have known. This session meets you at the intersection of identities and explores how Afro-Latinx people are – or should be – included in the Black experience.

Block Three Sessions

Razor Sharp: All About Beards⎢Do you love beards? Still trying to grow out that No-Shave-Novembeard? Whether you have a beard or want one, come to this session and learn all about grooming, styling, and maintenance of your beard.

Po-loc-tics⎢Your hairstyle is impacted by the American workplace and this session will tell you how. With this new form of discrimination, join on the discussion about how can navigate the traditional workplace with discrimination at play.

Curly Kitchen⎢An interactive, hands-on, “Do It Yourself” lesson on how to create hair conditioners and masks from food items straight out of your kitchen!

Protect Your Crown⎢You can’t rock it if you don’t protect it! Come learn about protective hair styling: What it is, how it’s done, and techniques to achieve the best style for you.

We would like to thank our Heritage 2018 co-sponsors:

Paul Robeson Cultural Center, Center for Latino Arts and Culture, Rutgers-Curly in College, Rutgers -Afro-Latinx Student Organization, Rutgers- Black Men’s Collective, Rutgers-Black Student Union

Is this event Free?

Is the event specifically for Black and Afro-Latinx participants?
No! Haritage2018 is for everyone from all walks of life.

Do I have to RSVP?
Yes, please RSVP by filling out this form.

Can I bring a guest?
Yes, you can bring your friends and family to the event. We simply ask that you ensure that they RSVP.

Will there be giveaways?
Yes! While supplies last.

Is this program for all genders?

If I want to participate as a vendor who do I contact?
Contact Kaicherise.mcrae@rutgers.edu

Via NJtransit

If you are traveling to Livingston Campus by train, please note our stop is New Brunswick on NJtransit then take a free Rutgers Shuttle (LX bus) to Livingston Student Center stop.


You are able to park in Lot 101 and Lot 105.

Download and print this parking pass to display in your window.

Conference Location

Livingston Student Center, 84 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Contact Us!

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