The Chi’s’ Yolonda Ross Talks Art, Creativity

The multi-talented actress Yolonda Ross. (Courtesy Photo)

By Jessica Dortch AFRO Production Editor  – If you are a fan of one of Showtime’s top series, “The Chi,” then you are no stranger to Yolonda Ross who plays Jada Washington on the show. Watching her in her acting element, you might not know that Ross is also a quadruple threat as an actress, artist, writer and director. Her resume is both impressive and extensive; she’s been featured in projects like Bull, The Get Down, Whitney and one of my personal favorites, Antwone Fisher. This small town girl didn’t just dream big, she made it big.

Growing up in the quaint city of Omaha, Nebraska, a place I forgot existed, Ross reassured me that not only do Blacks live there but they thrive there. “We are there and we are there in abundance,” Ross told the AFRO with a laugh. “I loved growing up there. It’s simple. Life is simple, and I felt there was a lot of space to just be. There was a lot of space to grow and to dream,” she reminisced.

Being the unfiltered creative powerhouse that Ross is, it is clear that her upbringing provided the groundwork for a successful career in entertainment and the arts.

Of all the things she has been gifted to do, one of her favorites is writing. “The Chi” star explained that in the writing process you are essentially creating an entire world from the inside out, and if you are able to direct what you write, then you are basically the captain of your own ship. This is no slight to her tenured acting career either, especially as she draws inspiration from peers like Mahershala Ali and Alfre Woodward. The actress admires Woodward’s versatility and how no one can seem to “put her in a box.” It is obvious that the same can be said for Ross, as there is no box big enough to encompass all that she is.

“I am a creative human being period. I’ve been blessed with a lot of gifts and I use all of them.

That’s how I function. If I can’t make things it’s almost like I can’t breathe,” Ross explained before she went on about the art she creates through her paintings. Apparently, painting is not a new hobby for her, rather just another expression of her creativity.

Ross admits to not painting as much due to filming “The Chi,” but some of her prints are for sale and can even be seen in her character Jada’s house on the show.

When the multi-talented creator isn’t working, she’s thinking about working and what project she’s to take on next. There is so much more to be said about Yolonda Ross, and to learn more visit her website at

Jessica Dortch is an author, a writer and AFRO’s production editor. For story suggestions or other inquiries email jdortch@

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO. Send letters to The Afro-American • 1531 S. Edgewood St. Baltimore, MD 21227 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to editor@

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