Behind The Mic: The Dreamer, The Messenger, The Antonio Marquez

Antonio Marquez overcame adversity to be a voice for the unheard and dreams of connecting the four corners of the earth to tell their stories.

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico Antonio Marquez and his family immigrated to San Diego in search of a better life when he was the age of 7. He did not discover that he was undocumented until he reached the age of 15, at the beginning of the college application experience. Marquez said, “It felt like a nightmare, you know. It’s real.” That would not be the first time his citizenship status would be a roadblock in his path. 

The Senior Journalism and Media Studies major, now age 33, has had one hell of a journey to get to SDSU.

He initially graduated from San Diego City College in 2008; he also interned at Univision during that final school year. With an Associate’s Degree in Communications and a foot in the door of the media industry, Antonio saw a bright future ahead of him. Suddenly, his undocumented status once again was blocking his path to success. “Once I did my internship at Univision and my last year of community college, they offered me a job,” and then reality struck, “They couldn’t help me and they let me go.” Not being a legal citizen, and this occurring years prior to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Univision was unable to give him the job he had worked so hard for. 

Leaving the news station, he began working at McDonald’s to support himself and his family. After a few weeks on the job, he broke down while cleaning the restroom one night. It was rock bottom and the first time he had truly felt all the overwhelming feelings that had yet to confront. Speaking with his mother on the issue, he decided to make the most of what he had. He began to excel at his job and soon moved up the ranks to a Management position. Part of this was due to his ability to speak both English and Spanish, an industry advantage in Southern California. This showed him how much he brought to the table; how he can tell stories to and for everyone that needs their voice amplified. 

Aiming to start a new life, Marquez packed up with his partner and moved to Yakima, Washington. From working in the field to working in the fields, Marquez picked produce in his new hometown. One day of work the woman next to him passed out while they were working the refrigerator. Shocked, and empathizing with her, he would be even more surprised to see that she was replaced less than 30 minutes later. Marquez quickly realized this was not the life for him, so he made a connection to volunteer for the local radio station. 

Radio KDNA in Yakima was the first opportunity for Marquez to participate in the radio industry since he had only done video broadcast journalism. A largely Spanish-speaking population fills the town and with many being large families with low-income, Marquez earned a segment speaking on entertainment and films to watch for these families. Promoting what was new on RedBox, he would connect with listeners by giving them a place to escape for a moment and point them in the right direction for some more entertainment.

The radio station put him on the public scene, but the local newspaper El Sol de Yakima got him in front of the people.

In his position as a reporter for the paper, he covered the stories of undocumented immigrants and their journey to Yakima as well as many of the small businesses they had started. Unable to accept compensation from the people who the stories were about, they brought him into their homes to thank him off the clock the old fashion way, with some food and company.

In 2012 life in Yakima was going well, but there was a new revelation regarding his citizenship, DACA had been announced. Upon the announcement, his mother called him and offered him something he could not refuse, a second chance. She told him to focus on school and do everything he can to get into SDSU. He moved back and started attending his alma mater San Diego City College in 2013. His school would be covered by the Board of Governor’s waiver, but he wanted some extra income. Finding a new job at a Hillcrest club named Numbers, Marquez started to fall in love with the radio. The music he listened to on the job showed him the form of expression music can be.

His first application to SDSU was denied after the comeback, but he persisted. He received an acceptance letter on his second attempt, but the cake he bought to celebrate would soon go to waste. Having received a C- in a certain JMS course, he would not be accepted this year other. While at City College, Marquez ran Cross Country. He and his coach shared a connection and he did everything he could to help him get into SDSU. This connection would be just what he needed to get that acceptance letter. The third try would be the final try. He was finally accepted into SDSU for the Fall 2018 semester and only after earning four Associate Degrees. He would bring to campus his degrees in Communications, Journalism, Behavioral Sciences, and lastly Chicano Studies. 

Marquez participated in the transfer bridge program put on by the Educational Opportunity Program here at State. However, it was not until the first day of class where he truly felt like he was a student here. Since his arrival, he has been involved, to say the least. He is a writer for the Mundo Azteca, the Spanish portion of The Daily Aztec; a DJ and radio host for his show Dreamer Hour on KCR College Radio; a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ); and a member of Associated Students. Involvement has brought many opportunities for his second wind of college.

Marquez first joined KCR and what caught his eye was the wide diversity within the organization.

“Just walking in the room and seeing everybody. We’re all so different,” said Marquez. On his show, Dreamer Hour, he interviews people, including a heart to heart conversation with his mother, and expresses himself through music. It’s called that because of, “Sometimes you wake up and you had a really weird dream. You try to remember throughout the day,” he goes on, “It feels like some distant memory. I want my show to be like that. To leave an impact on you, but not worry about the songs that played. All that matters is that you were there in the moment. Within Mundo Azteca, he has built a journalism career reporting on undocumented students and issues. This has spilled over into his NAHJ membership where he was able to attend the Excellence in Journalism Conference in September in San Antonio, Texas. 

This conference was only a month after the El Paso Walmart shooting; he was shocked to find out that there was undercover security disguised in the crowd. It truly made him feel that, as an undocumented Latinx community member, “I feel like I have a target on my back.” This subtle sense of fear persists through many within this community, hence why Marquez finds his role to be so important. He is able to tell the stories of the unheard, translating to both Spanish and English to reach an ever wider audience. The Dreamer Hour is part of his therapy to both get away and confront said issues. He plays his favorite 80s songs and anything else that makes him feel good. 

“I still don’t know where I’m gonna end up, but I know I wanna be somewhere in the media,” said Marquez. He sees himself as a messenger. In ancient Mexican culture, a hummingbird symbolizes a messenger between the gods and the people. Antonio Marquez’s wings are fluttering and they will not stop until he has connected the world.

Written by: Alexis Camel
Photos by: Alexis Camel


90’s Fashion Trends That Are Cool Again

Though 90’s kids are inarguably the best, fashion in that time period was questionable. Crop tops, bermuda shorts, shell necklaces, and platform flip-flops (yes, all in one outfit) were some of the things I remember wearing as a child (thanks, mom).  Here are five 90’s fashion faux pas that have made a comeback, and for your convenience, I have included links if for some reason you feel like buying something on the list. You’re welcome.

1. Jelly Sandals

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I was a huge fan of jellies growing up because they were awesome and cheap enough to convince my parents to buy me one in every color. The original company started to sell them again after the resurrection for about $35, whereas American Apparel charges about $45, which isn’t surprising. In the 90’s, jellies were worn without socks if you wore them to school and with socks to make them fancy enough to wear to church or something. Now, jellies are paired with opaque nylon tights for the most hipster effect. The higher the heel, the cooler you are, apparently.

2. Bucket Hats

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Yes, bucket hats were worn by my favorite boy band members, but this trend faded out for a reason. I blame Justin Bieber for bringing this one back. I’ve seen mostly men wearing bucket hats with a large variety of outfits. Paired with a fancy outfit or not, these hats look ridiculous. In my opinion, bucket hats should only be worn by pale babies or adorable grandpas who are trying to avoid a sunburn.

3. Tattoo Choker Necklaces

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What used to cost a quarter at one of those little bubble gum-looking machines is now being sold for $5.50 at Claires, with the description, “Get an edgy retro look with this double tattoo choker necklace.” Retro? Really? That doesn’t make me feel a million years old at all.

4. Crop Tops

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Clearly crop tops have been popular for a while, but the 90’s style crop tops have been making a comeback. A 90’s style crop top features a high neckline (maybe even a turtleneck), but leaves the midriff visible. It is more “modest” than other crop tops, and is usually paired with high waisted jeans and a flannel for an ultra-grunge look.

5. Birkenstocks

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Birkenstocks were introduced to the US in the 1960’s but according to 90’s 411, they gained the most popularity the company would ever get during the years of 1992 and 1994. I’ve been seeing mostly women wearing Birkenstocks, usually paired with floral dresses or a simple jeans and t-shirt type of outfit. Either way, I’m just going to say it: these are seriously the ugliest sandals I’ve ever seen. I am greatly confused as to why this company has survived since 1774. But hey, maybe they’re comfortable.

A Review of Disney’s Cinderella (Yes, the 2015 One)

This week I was fortunate enough to score some tickets to an advanced screening of Disney’s newest live-action retelling of the classic, Cinderella. Though Cinderella is not my favorite OG Disney princess (shout out to Princess Jasmine), this rendition of the beloved film was spectacular. Cinderella is truly amazing: it’s family-friendly, features more details about the characters, and has a very handsome Prince (whoever casted him seriously deserves an award). My only criticism is that I wish they had incorporated some of the Grimm brothers’ version, Aschenputtel. In their action-packed version, the evil stepsisters chop off their toes and heels to fit the glass slipper, and have their eyes pecked out by doves at the end. Oh, the drama.

Now, for the review. *SPOILER ALERT*

Cinderella starts out with beautiful little Ella happily frolicking about in the countryside with her family, which is of course torn apart in the first fifteen minutes because her mom gets sick and dies. I don’t understand why Disney feels the need to have their protagonists either lose their parents or their only living relative; maybe they figure the orphan-ness makes you want to cry just enough to reel you in.

The storyline essentially parallels the original version. What you see in the 2015 version is more of Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella being extra rude to Ella. It’s mildly uncomfortable to watch because Cate Blanchett’s laugh and demeanor is so evil, but at the same time, you can’t help but appreciate how striking and fierce she is. It’s ironic because you’d think her daughters would try to emulate that, but they’re pretty much the female equivalents to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Despite Ella’s efforts to live by her mother’s last words, “have courage and be kind,” she cracks and apparently copes with her feelings of despair by venturing to the woods on horseback. There, she meets the Prince, who is on a quest to hunt a majestic stag with his army of trusty knights. Right when we see his perfectly coiffed hair, we are also shown more of the Prince’s character. After all, he’s more than just a pretty face. Upon their accidental yet destined meeting, he introduces himself as a royal apprentice named “Kit,” in hopes that he’ll be able to interact with her as a normal guy. Their horses literally prance in a circle for about five minutes before she finally runs off, without even saying her name.

It’s love at first sight for both of those hopeless romantics. But there’s just one problem: the King will only let him marry an eligible Princess, meaning someone who can add treasure and land to the Kingdom. Oh yeah, and the King is also dying (what is with this movie and death?). Kit’s solution was to agree to this, but only if he’s allowed to open the traditionally elite ball to the public. His secret goal is to have his father meet the charming girl he met in the woods, which would force him to have a change of heart because she’s so great.

Word reaches Lady Tremaine, who of course forbids Ella from attending the ball. Ella is heartbroken because she has no interest in the Prince; she only wanted to see the apprentice from the woods again. Ella’s tears are the queue for her fairy godmother to show up for once, and she grants Ella’s wish to be able to go to the ball—but in style. Equipped with a special spell to protect her from being noticed by her jealous stepmother, Ella also gets a golden pumpkin carriage with mousy horses, lizardy henchman, and a goosey coachman. The dress was magnificent, and the effects made it feel like it was going to pop off the screen and whip you in the face with fairy dust, butterflies, and yards of tool.

She arrives fashionably late to the ball, and enchants the whole ballroom with her grace, beauty, and fabulous dress. She reunites with Kit, now revealed as the Prince, and has a jolly old time on a swing in his secret royal garden until the clock tragically strikes midnight. She dashes off, and he fails once again to get her name. Classic Kit.

A search for this mysterious beauty begins, but not before Lady Tremaine gets to the Grand Duke and blackmails him into only letting her daughters try on the glass slipper. He agrees because he’s a horrible person, and almost succeeds in hiding her from his team. Kit tagged along because he didn’t trust him (his instinct was right– the Duke was #fake), and he hears Ella upstairs despite Lady Tremaine’s attempts to disguise her angelic song. Ella tries on her own glass slipper which obviously fits her, and she and Kit live happily ever after while the Duke, Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia are banned from the Kingdom.

I would give Cinderella five out of five stars. This movie was amazing. I don’t know how I was planning to wait to see it until the release date.

*Princely gasp*

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