Featured Yelitsa Jean-Charles keynote speaker healthy roots entrepreneurship diversity inclusion
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Traveling From

Detroit, MI, USA

Tags: Activism / Diversity & Inclusion / Entrepreneurship / Startup / Social Change & Issues / The Arts & Design


Yelitsa Jean-Charles never had a doll that looked like her growing up. The one time her parents gave her a black doll, she burst into tears because it wasn’t the “pretty one”. Since then, Yelitsa has made it her goal to make sure that no other children feel the way she did about her own appearance growing.

While in her Junior year studying Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, Yelitsa redesigned the fairy tale Character Rapunzel as a brown girl with beautiful kinky hair. After speaking with classmates and friends. she saw the opportunity to address the demonstrated need for more diverse toys and representation in children’s publishing.

With a grant from Brown University Social Innovation Fellowship, support from the RISD E’Ship Program, Masschallenge Accelerator program and 674 dedicated Kickstarter backers, Healthy Roots was born.

Yelitsa has gone from not knowing how to do her own hair at the age 21 to teaching young girls all about their own.

Since starting Healthy Roots in 2015, Yelitsa has graduated from RISD with a BFA in Illustration and a concentration in Gender, Race & Sexuality. She was most recently recognized on Essence’s 2017 50 Founders to Watch list and won the Startup Stampede as well as the New Voices Fund Pitch competition.


How Black Girl Magic Can Change the World

Yelitsa looks to the options society provides to girls of color and considers a more diverse & inclusive future powered by women entrepreneurs.

Yelitsa Jean-Charles can speak to topics around entrepreneurship, art & design, culture competency, diversity & inclusion, and social justice.



Look at how cute these dolls are!!

Last night I had to snap my friend and myself out of it for almost being impressed by a man trying to surprise me at my popup just because it’s cold out.

Doing something most others aren’t doesn’t make you remarkable when everyone else is severely under performing.

Today was a good ass day.

I'm ecstatic about John Legend. Black folks deserve to win awards for things they're unqualified for just like white people do. This is what equality looks like.

Imagine telling a journalist all about @RootsDolls and they write one line about you and call you "dolls aimed at young girls of color."

When something is related to race, white people often define it as only about race.

Stop it.