Pharrell Williams and his education equity nonprofit YELLOW announced a new initiative on Tuesday (Jan. 19) that will aim to inspire students to engage more with computer science. The Virginia producer is partnering with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Amazon for the Your Voice Is Power program to spark interest among middle and high school students to delve into coding.
Framed as a music remix competition, Your Voice Is Power introduces five teaching formats complete with full lesson plans while also moving the students into having conversations around consistently looming issues around race. This new program will feature the students remixing Pharrell’s song “Entrepreneur” using Georgia Tech’s coding and music program, EarSketch.
“This collaboration between YELLOW, Amazon, and Georgia Tech is a celebration of Black creators and change-makers,” Pharrell said. “YELLOW at its core believes that education is a pathway to success. Teaching kids future-ready skills like coding, especially those kids for whom opportunities like this have not been equally distributed, is how we prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
“YELLOW’s mission is to even the odds for kids through education. We’re teaching for the future,” Mike McGalliard, CEO of YELLOW, said. “Georgia Tech’s EarSketch platform is a powerful tool for kids to explore the connection between coding and creativity. In working alongside Amazon to give kids access to platforms like this, we can help them bring their ideas to life.”
Students will have the opportunity to meet professionals such as Pharrell’s engineer Mike Larson, music technologist Chalece DeLaCoudray, and Assistant Professor of Hip Hop Studies and Digital Media at Georgia Tech Dr. Joycelyn Wilson among others.
Middle and high school students in both the United States and Canada can enter the Your Voice Is Power competition, with the first round already underway from now until March 12. The second round kicks off on March 15 and runs until June 4. The remixes that the students create will be judged by Amazon engineers, Amazon Music officials, and studio and recording industry professionals.
To learn more about Your Voice Is Power, click here.