Earlier this year, Pharrell Williams’ nonprofit YELLOW joined forces with Amazon Music and Georgia Institute of Technology to launch a new educational coding and music remix competition. After months of listening to over 1,500 student applicants across the U.S., five winners have been chosen.
According to a blog post from Amazon, the “Your Voice is Power” program was created to encourage students to use their voices through music to amplify issues centered around social justice and equity while also learning how to code. The music competition instructed students to create their own remix to Pharrell and Jay-Z’s “Entrepreneur” song using music coding platform EarSketch.
As a result of the contest, five grand prize winners from schools in Georgia, Illinois, Florida, Texas, California, and Ontario were awarded either a $5,000 scholarship or grant to start their own business. Five teachers were also awarded a $1,000 cash reward for going above and beyond in teaching the program to their students.
As previously reported by AfroTech, Pharrell shared that the collaboration between YELLOW, Amazon, and Georgia Tech was meant to serve as “a celebration of Black creators and change-makers.” It is his nonprofit’s belief that education is the pathway to success and the tool that has the power to bridge the gap for opportunity amongst the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“Through this wonderful collaboration with Amazon Future Engineer and EarSketch, we are grateful that so many students got to not only experience coding for the first time, but also learned about social justice in an impactful way,” said Stacey Lopez — chief operating officer at Pharrell’s YELLOW — in a statement. “It is our hope that all students who participated will now share their learned knowledge with others to make changes right in their own communities. The winners’ selections were outstanding, and YELLOW is proud of the dedication from all student and teacher participants.”
This latest partnership is yet another example of Pharrell’s continued commitment to uplifting Black and brown communities while also creating more opportunities for them to flourish independently. Most recently, his other nonprofit organization, Black Ambition, unveiled the winners of its Black Ambition and Black Ambition HBCU (Historically Black College and University) Prizes — which included $1 million grand prize winner Livegistics.