Reel Black List: La Donna Tittle, Renaissance Woman

La Donna Tittle

La Donna Tittle

Acting on
Showtime’s hit
series “The Chi”
is just one of the
versatile artist’s
many career
success stories

Native Chicagoan La Donna Tittle is an accomplished actor, model, radio personality and CEO / producer / host of Cookin’ Wit’ Tittle … Bon Appetite, Let’s Eat, a spirited show about food and drink on CAN TV Channel 19 Chicago.

She currently plays Ethel Davis on The Chi, Showtime’s hit series created by Chicago’s own Lena Waithe and co-produced by Common.

La Donna also writes a column for NoirWoman, a monthly supplement formerly distributed by the Chicago Sun Times, now distributed online through Tittle’s Cosmopolitan World, Arts, Entertainment & Beyond! and Girlfriends Magazine.

La Donna launched her radio career in 1968, the same year that she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Chicago State University. Five years later, she won the title of “Chicago’s number one disc jockey” while working at WBMX (now V103FM).

"Cookin' Wit' Tittle"
“Cookin’ Wit’ Tittle”

It was the first of several industry awards she would earn while working various stations and timeslots. Others include the Operation PUSH Woman of the Year Award and the Black Radio Exclusive Air Personality Award.

Currently, La Donna is host and producer for the Web satellite radio station WGCR, which can be accessed in 294 countries.

In addition to her continuing professional radio career, La Donna has performed voiceovers for television programs and national commercials, including Kraft My BBQ, for which she is the Storyteller.

Film and TV
Besides hosting Cookin’ Wit’ Tittle, which can be heard in the U. S. Library of Congress, La Donna has appeared in ALI, The Relic, Turks, Southern Cross, Dreams, and The Movie. She also plays Rosie the Nosy Neighbor’ in R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet, the Grammy-nominated Urban Saga, hip-hopera shown on

La Donna’s versatile career also includes noteworthy theatrical performances with ETA, the Gospel Repertory, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Organic Theaters, the Chicago Dramatist’s, and independent productions (Pocketbook Monologue’s Tour) And Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues

She continues to share her love for the theatre with her second appearance as the outrageous, Anna Von Lissenger in the Engagement Party installment of Christine Houston’s Everyday People series at her alumni, Chicago State University.

2015 Women of Honor — Thornton Township

2008 Lifetime Achievement Award — Chicago Music Awards.

Best Actor for the Ole’Settler and Hope VI — Black Theater Alliance Awards (BTAA)

Alumni Hall of Fame — Dunbar Vocational High School

La Donna is also the recipient of the 2003 HistoryMakers’ Media Awards and — along with Isaac Hayes, B.B. King, and a fellow Chicagoan named Barack Obama — was inducted into the organization’s archives. “One of my cherished moments was meeting then-Senator Barack Obama,” she recalls. “Who knew that, five years later, he would be our first African-American President. I’m truly humbled by these honors and career achievements.”



What was your first break? My first offer was a radio job at WBEE in 1969; however, I didn’t accept it because I was told that after five years of College, I would Graduate in 1971, so I got my degree, and the Job offer was still there, and the rest is a successful Career in Black Radio in Chicago. My first national commercial was for Purex Bleach in 1965.

Worst thing that ever happened to you to remind you that you are Black? I had started Modeling in the mid 60’s and was making rounds to show my head shot and resume to photographers, as was the practice back then, and when I went into this studio the young lady at the desk didn’t even bother to look up at me. She just took my head shot and I left. She was not friendly, but a very rude white lady! I felt invisible, but I continued making rounds with tears in my eyes.

Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are Black? Probably being recognized for my work in the industry with numerous public service awards for mentoring young Black students during my time as a Teacher for CPS, which I continue to do. In my current role as Ethel Davis on The Chi, I am truly living my best life at the moment as an Actor!!!

La Donna Tittle in "The Chi"
La Donna Tittle in “The Chi”

Work you are most proud of? All of it! Being Black AND of a particular age (SENIOR), though I’m still not working as much as I’d like. Today, it’s my role as Ethel Davis in the Showtime hit series The Chi. During my younger days, I worked a lot, but never like the white folks in the industry. It’s been a long journey to where I am now, and as they say, “we just keep on pushn’n” ahead with a positive spirit! I still feel the best is yet to come!

How has the business changed since you broke in? It’s changed a lot, but it could be much, much better. Discrimination is alive and well in the USA in 2019! Can you believe it! It’s the truth, and only time and efforts by Blacks in the industry and our white counterparts who don’t discriminate can make a difference in all fields — entertainment, jobs, politics, etc. Of course, we are an ever-changing people and the more we fight against racism and all other negative ‘isms’, the more we will continue to make a difference in the World and the USA. Never give up! Dreams do true! I’ll keep marching until the day I die, for FREEDOM AND EQUALITY! I may not fully see it in my lifetime, but at least I know that the struggle will not die after I’m gone from this life because I did my part by representing Black Woman, whom by the way are the most discriminated against in the USA. It’s a fact, and one that still disturbs me the most!

Trapped on an island, what essentials must you have? Trapped on an island would be ideal if I had my health, water, shelter, food and some company! Perfect weather, everyday, no predators!

If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self? Stop procrastinating and finish that Book, Girl!!! Cookbook and the Radio industry!

If you could have a one-on-one with anyone who would it be? And why? Wow! Of course, God, herself/himself! She/He could tell me things to make me understand why was I born gifted and Black and why is there so much hatred in the world against Black people, TODAY!…?

To see the up-to-date Reel Black List, click here.