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The Chi's Ronaldo Boyce dishes on Darnell and Jada's relationship and more

Rolando Boyce as Darnell in The Chi
Rolando Boyce as Darnell in The Chi (Image credit: Showtime)

With The Chi heading into the home stretch of an entertaining season 5, a lot of focus has been placed on Emmett (Jacob Latimore) and his family dynamic, specifically what’s been going on with his parents Jada (Yolanda Ross) and Darnell (Rolando Boyce). Both fans and cast can’t stop talking about the couple. 

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While we may not necessarily have the definitive answer on whether or not Darnell and Jada are destined to be together for the duration of the series, we did manage to speak with The Chi actor Rolando Boyce and hear his thoughts on the pairing. Plus, he shared how he landed the role of Darnell and his most shocking moments from the season so far. We have edited this review for clarity.

WTW: How did you wind up getting the role of Darnell? 

RB: The first season I was pretty much watching it as a fan. I’m from Chicago. I had quite a few acting friends who were in the show the first season. So I also wanted to support them. By the time the season ended, I was like this is a really good show…Being from Chicago I got to get on this show. I usually don’t do that, look at something and say I got to get on it. But something in my spirit, I was like I got to get on this show. 

[Boyce recalled how a good friend, Joseph Wilson, joined The Chi as a producer, at which point he reached out.]

RB: Man, I was just sitting up here trying to figure out how to get on there. He [Joseph Wilson] was like "ok well you know, I’ll let you know what roles are out there, you can audition. You got to do your thing." I was like, all I need is a shot.

I actually auditioned for both Douda and Darnell, taking nothing from Curtis Cook because he’s killing Douda, it was a perfect fit.

Curtis Cook as Douda in The Chi

Curtis Cook in The Chi (Image credit: Showtime)

RB: I had three auditions for Darnell. I think I did two self-tapes and one in-person audition. I knew in my spirit, I was like I know I could freak this role. I remember one night just looking at Jacob Latimore’s picture and looking at my picture, I’m like "I’m this dude’s dad, that’s an easy fit."

After the third audition, they went with me. I actually originally was supposed to be, Darnell, was set for three episodes and that was it. I was cool with it, three episodes. But I also knew that if I got in there and did my thing, then hopefully that could change. And it did.  

WTW: Where do you pull the inspiration from for such a colorful, yet comical, persona as Darnell? 

RB: I try to absorb everything from Chicago, I bring a little of my friends, my best friend… I just feed into what I see, and try to bring that to the role.

A lot of time somebody will stop me and be like, "man you’re just like my dad or I have an uncle just like you or I’m just like you."

WTW: What’s it like filming The Chi? 

RB: We have a lot of fun together. Most of my scenes are with either Jacob Latimore or Yolanda Ross. The chemistry is there. We established so much chemistry that you know every time we shoot it’s always something just magical that will happen. 

WTW: What can fans expect for the rest of the season in terms of Darnell and Jada? 

RB: [Laughing] They’ve got their history, and we’ll see how it turns out. I don’t want Lena down my throat.

Rolando Boyce as Darnell in The Chi

Rolando Boyce in The Chi (Image credit: Showtime)

WTW: What are your hopes for Darnell and Jada? 

RB: That they can remain friends. That’s one thing that they built through the years. I remember season 2 I think the first time I went to her apartment she was like, "get the f**k out, don’t ever come back." [Laughing] But now it's gotten to the point where at least they’ve established a tighter relationship, a tighter friendship. So hopefully, that stays.  

WTW: What were some of the most shocking moments from season 5 for you? 

RB: For me, it was shocking that it was written that Darnell and Jada got back together.

It was shocking when Suede stole on me [punched], Darnell, and knocked the earpiece out. That’s the most violence I want to happen. I always tease Lena, I don’t want scenes with Douda, that dude is trouble.

You can catch new episodes of The Chi season 5 first on Fridays via the Showtime On-Demand service. The episodes then air live on the Showtime channel on Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT. 

Also, be sure to check Rolando Boyce in an upcoming episode of All Rise alongside his wife LeShay Tomlinson. Plus, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to watch P-Valley season 2 as Boyce was featured in the premiere as Julian.  

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Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.