In July, the Essence Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary. In addition to its traditional lineup of incredible music, Prince (the headliner) has partnered with Essence to launch the event's first hackathon: #YesWeCode. #YesWeCode is an initiative born out of the Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund. The program targets low-opportunity youth and provides them with the tools to become world-class programmers.
#YesWeCode has consistently teamed up with leaders in technology, entertainment and politics while attempting to train 100,000 low-opportunity youth to become top-notch programmers. While the Essence Festival has always focused on improvement across many areas, the 2014 festival has deemed this year "The Year of Empowerment." What better way to empower youth than with the tools to participate in the fastest-growing industry in human history? The hackathon will take place as part of the festival's Tech Village. The Tech Village will be an interactive area where attendees can engage with hands-on activities, tech-based youth organization presentations, panel discussions, social media contests and more.
For more information on the event and activities, visit the Festival #YesWeCode page. Hackathons have been on the rise at more and more non-tech events. From music festivals to political events, hackathons have made their mark as an attraction and a method to explore technology's role in expanding traditional messaging and routes to market. The Essence Festival has long served to empower underrepresented interests. A hackathon to empower youth may be a ticket to development in the 21st century.