Entertainment & Arts

How Prince helped launch the #YesWeCode initiative after the Trayvon Martin verdict

How Prince helped launch the #YesWeCode initiative after the Trayvon Martin verdict

CNN commentator Van Jones shared an emotional story on the Dr. Drew Show about his relationship with Prince and how the two started working together on the #YesWeCode initiative. 

Jones elaborated on Prince’s involvement at the 20th Anniversary Essence Festival in 2014 where the initiative was launched. On stage Jones shared the story of how Prince was inspired not just to bring awareness to a cause, but create an project that would bring an opportunity for men and women to find success in the tech industry. 

“After the Trayvon Martin verdict I was talking to Prince and he said, ‘You know, every time people see a young black man wearing a hoodie, they think, he’s a thug. But if they see a young white guy wearing a hoodie they think, oh that might be Mark Zuckerberg. That might be a dot-com billionaire.’”

“I said, ‘Well, yeah, Prince that’s true but that’s because of racism.’ And he said, 'No, it’s because we have not produced enough black Mark Zuckerbergs. That’s on us. That’s on us. To deal with what we’re not doing to get our young people prepared to be a part of this new information economy.’”

In the wake of his death, those within the company have expressed their grief but also gratitude. There’s a page on their website that simply says, “Thank You, Prince.” And delivers the following message: 

"#YesWeCode would like to honor Prince and thank him for his inspired vision for #YesWeCode. Prince’s commitment to ensuring young people of color have a voice in the tech sector continues to impact the lives of future visionaries creating the tech of tomorrow.”

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