Native Michigander and LA transplant Kelvin Washington embraces challenges – in life, career and family – and he definitely has a lot of fun along the way.
This summer, he and his wife, Toni, expecting their second child this month, appeared as contestants on the new GSN game show “America Says.” The show challenges two teams of family and friends to fill in the blank on a wide range of survey topics. John Michael Higgins of “Pitch Perfect” fame hosts.
The Washingtons showed their Michigan pride calling on friends who are also Michigan natives to appear with them on their team “The Detroiters.” They auditioned and did a taping of the show in early spring. The episode aired this summer on July 27 and, although the team didn’t win the $15,000 jackpot, Kelvin Washington said it was a positive experience for him and his wife.
“Everyone was very professional and it was fun and informative,” he said, adding that it was nice being able to do the show with friends from back home.
LA or bust
Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Washington took a leap of faith when he and his wife left the cold winters of Michigan behind for the warm rays of Southern California seven years ago.
“We were looking for a new life and new opportunities,” Washington said.With a degree in telecommunications and film from Eastern Michigan University, Washington leveraged his background and experience to find career success in LA. He was a co-host for NBC’s “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge” and a co-host on the afternoon drive talk show “Afternoons with Marcellus, Kelvin & E.D” on ESPN 710 in Los Angeles.
And while Washington said he loves his newfound home in California, he still has a soft spot for Michigan. A 1999 graduate of Pioneer High School, he played for a Pioneer basketball team that won the state championship. Naturally, he still roots for his hometown team.
Working hard to advance his career, his list of on-air credits on television and radio continues to grow, while his roles as a husband and father clearly top his list of priorities.
“I grew up in a single parent home and it has always been very important to me to be a good dad,” he said. “I take it very seriously. It is tiring, taxing, rewarding, fun and everything to me. When I come home, the joy on her face and hearing ‘daddy’— that is priceless. If I could bottle that up, I would.”
Kennedi, almost 2, will be joined by a little sister sometime in late October. The Washingtons had a gender reveal party this past summer to tell loved ones their second child would be another daughter.
The downside of living in California, Washington said, is not having a lot of family living close by, but, he said, grandma makes up for that by calling frequently and skyping to see the baby. The family also regularly travels back to Michigan to visit.
Parenthood is a rewarding experience, Washington said, adding that he hopes parents continue to know how important they are.
“You’re never really ready,” he said. “You just have to go with it and grow with it.”
Q&A with Kelvin Washington
Any cool hangout spots you remember from Ann Arbor: Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor and Izzy’s Hoagie Shop. There’s also Abe’s Coney Island in Ypsilanti for late nights.
What game do you hope your kids like as they get older: We just got Kennedi a little toy golf set, so we are excited to see if she takes to that.
Which sports teams do you follow from back home: We had floor seats for the Elite 8 for Michigan vs. Texas A & M, so we were fortunate to be able to see that. Also I follow the Detroit Lions and the Pistons.
Favorite game: Even before kids, we had fun doing our own family game nights. Favorites were Taboo, Scattergories, movie trivia, sports trivia games.