With great power comes great responsibility. CNN contributor Van Jones felt the weight of this statement after receiving $100 million from Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos.
In 2021, Bezos gifted Jones the money and instructed him to do as he wishes with it. Chef José Andrés was also a recipient of $100 million.
“They can give it all to their own charity,” Bezos said at a press conference, according to CNN. “Or they can share the wealth. It is up to them.”
The gesture from Bezos was because he said the pair “demonstrated courage” and were actively trying to create a more unified world.
“We need unifiers and not vilifiers,” Bezos explained, per CNN. “We need people who argue hard and act hard for what they believe. But they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models.”
Jones expressed gratitude stating, “Sometimes dreams come true.”
Since that time, Jones reveals the financial gain has unraveled several truths, some harder to swallow than others.
“I realized, I was gonna put myself in an early grave because you have insurmountable opportunities,” Jones expressed during an interview on “Earn Your Leisure.” “You also could have insurmountable obstacles. You could also have insurmountable opportunities. The door’s just opening and opening and opening and opening, and that can stress you out and that can also bring a lot of haters and a lot of criticism.”
Jones said therapy, prayer, meditation, and ramping up his fitness journey have allowed him to return back to his sense of self. More importantly, he has restored vision in how he can be a vessel for the greater good.
“We’re worthy, we’re worthy to be in these rooms,” he said. “We’re worthy to move capital. We’re worthy to imagine whole industries. …We could make every Black neighborhood into ‘Wakanda’ with the best technology in the world. Every Black kid could have an AI tutor better than Harvard, MIT for free. All of these things, we’re worthy to have those dreams, and we’re worthy to fight for them and not just fight for them, just to da-n manifest them and say, ‘This is what is going to be in my community.'”
He added, “That’s what’s available, I think, as an entrepreneur. So much of politics is about the past and the present. Reparations is about the past. Redistribution is about the present… That’s politics. Either reparations or redistribution. But the future has not been written. The future’s worth fighting for.”