Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Pharrell Williams’ Nonprofit YELLOW and Georgia Tech have reported a new educational collaboration called “Your Voice is Power” to encourage middle and high school students to share their own thoughts on equity while learning to code new music remixes. The collaboration has five teaching modules that have lesson plans to teach coding and to simultaneously kickstarting important conversations within students and their teachers of the importance of racial justice. Towards the close of the competition, students share their own voices through remixing Pharrell’s new song “Entrepreneur” utilizing computer code on Georgia Tech’s coding music platform EarSketch.
Demand for higher quality computer science education has risen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. BLS research has pointed out that in 2019 the median annual salary for computer science occupations amounted to USD 48,000 greater than the median wage for all occupations within the United States. “This collaboration between YELLOW, Amazon, and Georgia Tech is a celebration of Black creators and change-makers,” said Pharrell. “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,” said Mike McGalliard, CEO of YELLOW. “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.”
“Your Voice is Power” introduces students to real-world computer science-based careers held by people of color. Through this program, students will meet professionals who use music and computer science to fight for racial justice—people including Mike Larson, Pharrell’s audio engineer; Chalece DeLaCoudray, a music technologist and Georgia Tech alumna; and Joycelyn Wilson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Hip Hop Studies and Digital Media at Georgia Tech. “Your Voice is Power” will also encourage students to channel their learning into an original remix of Pharrell’s new song ‘Entrepreneur’ – a celebration of Black culture – using Python computer code. Specifically, they will use looping (repeating) to extend the length of their song, use strings to create new beats, create custom functions representing different song sections, and learn to upload their own sounds to the EarSketch library.