The reason why I decided to get a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications is because as an African American male, I believe there are certain news stories I can relate to because I am Black. I think now, more than ever, it is important to see African American writers getting their stories out to the public to see.
Marquis Arnold has a story to tell. In fact, he has a lot of them. This grad has been working on a film script and recently finished up a children’s book about a dinosaur named Julius titled “Finding My Way Home.”
“The screenplay I’m writing is called ‘Tomorrow Was Never Promised to Us,’ and it’s a faith-based movie. I am almost done with it,” explains Marquis. Inspired by a religious movie he watched called “War Room,” Marquis has been working on the screenplay since the summer of 2018.
He also has a strong interest in broadcast journalism and is a keen follower of the local news stations in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. “My most beneficial experience at Ashford* was being able to go out and interview people for my journalism classes because it allowed me to improve my journalism skills.”
Currently, Marquis works as Ohio Legislative Service Commission, a position which has given him a chance to meet many inspiring people. “One thing that gets me excited about going to work each week is just being downtown seeing so many people just trying to live their dreams,” he says. He’s hoping to share that inspiration with others by eventually starting a podcast or YouTube series where he interviews Columbus-area locals who are helping to make the city a better place.
“The reason why I decided to get a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications is because as an African American male, I believe there are certain news stories I can relate to because I am Black,” he says. “I think now, more than ever, it is important to see African American writers getting their stories out to the public to see.”
Growing up, Marquis says he came from a family who put God first in everything that they did. The oldest of three boys, he lived in both the inner city and in the suburbs. “I was able to see how different the inner-city schools were compared to the suburb school districts,” he says. “It’s sad when I think about it, because it was like the books, supplies, and even the teaching I was given wasn’t anything compared to what I got at the suburb schools.”
He spent a lot of childhood at his grandparents’ house and said he believes his grandmother Earnestine's prayers are what keep his family strong. “The one thing I wish everyone could experience is having a grandmother who prays over them every day. My grandmother worked in the cotton fields in Camilla, Georgia, where she was underpaid and overworked. She raised six children with my grandfather.” Through it all, Earnestine never stopped praying.
In his school journey, Marquis says he, too, turned to the power of prayer. “There were plenty of times where I felt like giving up because school was starting to be a lot. I remember praying a lot when I was going through rough times, such as having to take a college algebra class three times because I wouldn’t do good on the final exam and final test.”
Marquis says he initially struggled at the community college, where he first got his associate’s degree, more than he did at Ashford simply because college was new to him at that point. “I had to learn how to have better time management, and I had to realize that going to the Writing Center was something I needed to do every day if I want to succeed in college,” he says.
He reminds current Ashford students or someone contemplating a return to school to make sure that they have the time and self-discipline needed to focus on school. “I just want the people who are reading this to know that if you truly focus, you can reach your goals in life,” says Marquis. “I graduated from two colleges that helped me become a better man.”
When asked about his future plans, Marquis does not hesitate. “I look forward to writing a TV series about my life growing up in Columbus, Ohio. I have a lot of amazing stories to tell. In my 29 years of life, I have lost a lot of friends to gun violence, drug overdose, and car accidents whose stories deserve to be told also.”
His biggest dream is to one day send his screenplay to Jordan Peele, Tyler Perry, and T.D. Jakes and perhaps get a job at one of their film companies. As a signed actor and model, don’t be surprised if Marquis doesn’t just stick to staying behind-the-scenes as a writer. He’s more than comfortable being in front of the camera as well!
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus