March 18, 2019
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
In just over a year, Naje Wright went from being a curious teen with a passion for technology to winning a prestigious global creative award.
Naje, 16, recently won the The One Club for Creativity’s “Emerging Writer” award at the One Screen Short Film Festival for a “spoken word” poem she wrote for a Best Buy marketing campaign. The other winners included film makers, ad agencies and big brands from around the world.
Naje was one of three teens featured in the campaign aimed at boosting awareness for the young people supported by Best Buy’s Teen Tech Centers, which train teens from underserved communities for tech-reliant jobs in the future. She is a member of the Teen Tech Center at Hope Community in Minneapolis.
Naje was surprised and excited by the honor. “It meant a lot to me because I worked really hard on my poem,” she said. “Knowing that other people think I’m good at it and are motivated by it encourages me to write more.”
The cool part about this award is that it was, in fact, won by Naje, not the Best Buy marketing team, said Bruce Bildsten, our executive creative director.
“While our creative team came up with the spoken-word concept and produced the video, the words were Naje’s alone,” he said.
Naje also earned local accolades from the Advertising Federation of Minnesota, which gave her video six awards, including Best of Show (In-House). The broader campaign — which included videos from fellow Hope Community Teen Tech Center members Martaize “Tez” Smith and LaTrell McKelvy — received two awards and LaTrell won one.
‘Worth investing in’
Naje first visited the Best Buy Teen Tech Center on her 15th birthday and her involvement there has grown rapidly since.
She started by attending regularly after school to foster her love for photography. Now, in addition to her own projects, she volunteers there and helps lead tours of the facility.
While Naje isn’t sure yet what she wants to do for a career, she is inspired by her experience at the Teen Tech Center. She’s exploring writing and photography, as well as areas such as law enforcement.
“I want to be something big that impacts a lot of people,” she said. “But, for now, I’m really concentrating on my education.”
J.T. Evans, who works closely with Naje and other students as coordinator of the Teen Tech Center at Hope Community, said he’s glad to see the recognition the teens are getting from the Best Buy campaign and the recognition it’s getting.
“These kids are worth investing in,” he said. “They’re so talented, and they work really hard.”
Click here to learn more about Best Buy’s Teen Tech Centers. We currently have 25 locations, with plans to expand to 60 across North America by 2020.