Summit Spotlight: Christian Troy, Winner of AT&T Believe Atlanta Video Contest, Brings Westside Story to Life Thanks to re:imagine/ATL

As a sophomore in high school, Christian Troy, a Westside native, made his mark at AT&T’s Believe Atlanta video contest in 2019, from which he took home the first place title. AT&T held the competition showcasing the creative abilities of a number of high school students as part of its larger initiative to invest in the residents of Atlanta’s Westside. Now a high school junior, Christian joins the panel for the Feb. 21 Transform Westside Summit to discuss his experience of being able to properly display his creativity and Westside roots in video format thanks to re:imagine/ATL, the organization connecting youth with resources and mentors to amplify their voices in media.

“Being provided with the tools that I needed by re:imagine was extremely important,” he says. “I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I was just writing. So with the help of my directors, and Miss Julie and Miss Kimberlin, it started to come together.”

Christian Troy, Winner of AT&T’s Believe Atlanta video contest speaks at the Feb. 21 Transform Westside Summit.

“At first we were just going to get a wall and then just put the sound effect of a jail cell closing,” he explains with regard to a scene from his video which depicts him behind bars, an all too common environment for underserved and over-policed African American youth. “But for you to actually see that—like, actually see that young kid sitting inside of a jail cell demonstrating isolation, it was more powerful.” Christian continues, “With them providing me with what I needed, it helped a lot, and it made the video pop the way it did. It would’ve never popped if they didn’t help me.”

When asked what he learned about himself while going through the process of writing and bringing his vision to screen, Christian says, “I remember everybody was in a group, but I went and sat outside. And, I just started writing—I just started pouring out my feelings because I didn’t think we was going to share and put it into nothing else.” He continues, “I think I learned that I can act and that I was coachable, because a lot of people tried to make me seem as if I was an uncoachable person and that I wasn’t worth anything.”

Speaking on the importance of feeling valued and being seen as having potential for greatness, Christian emphasized the impact he felt re:imagine/ATL had on his self-esteem with a simple yet potent phrase:

“It just made me feel better about myself.”

View Christian Troys contest-winning video here.