As part of our Black History Month observance, Front Row introduces you to an outstanding African-American leader at ESPN.
Marquis Daisy is a staff producer with ESPN Films. He is a producer of the recent ESPN 30 for 30 film Vick. He’s also directed several films, including the 30 for 30 Rand University and served as co-director of Baltimore Boys.
He answers some questions about Black History Month, working at ESPN and more.
What’s your proudest moment at ESPN?
It probably stems back to the unbelievable opportunity to work with legendary filmmaker Spike Lee. When ESPN Films partnered with Spike’s 40 Acres and A Mule film company to present “Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints,” a series of short films centered around stories of African-American icons in sports, I was fortunate enough to lead the project. Working hand-in-hand with Mr. Lee fulfilled a life-long dream of not only meeting him, but actually collaborating with him. Together our teams produced and directed nine short films that were at the heart of what we consider “black excellence in sports.”
A big focus for ESPN is diversity, inclusion and belonging. How do you help others feel included and valued?
One of the virtues that I try to adhere to is the understanding that “success is only as strong as those who help you attain it.” By that, I’ve always been a big believer in the diversity that surrounds my every action. Whether it’s working with the many talented people who hold job titles that I aspire to achieve, or those who are just beginning in the field of television, no matter gender or race, I’ve always valued criticism, help and pure motivation in the continued pursuit of growth and development.
Share a little-known fact about yourself.
In 1990, “The Cosby Show” featured an opening with the show’s characters posing and dancing in front of a Harlem-inspired mural. For the show, that mural represented black artistry and a feeling of community. . . Well, my family and I were a part of that program and helped paint that real mural. It was an honor to see that this mural made it all the way to the big screen! Pretty unique part of television history.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
To me, Black History Month is a time of reflection of the complicated past of those who came before me; those who sacrificed so much to lay a foundation for opportunity for we who followed. It is also a time of celebration of all of the good that African-American culture has contributed to this country and world alike.
ESPN is screening the 30 for 30 “Vick Part 2” on Tuesday, Feb. 25 (6-9:30 p.m. ET) at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford. After the screening, Daisy will participate in a Q&A with the audience.