The actor, singer, and philanthropist Jennifer Hudson’s life has come full circle in a lot of ways.
She rose to stardom on American Idol and eventually became a judge on The Voice, to assess the talent of aspiring artists walking in her footsteps.
She grew up admiring the R&B legend Whitney Houston, who eventually became a mentor and close friend. She was raised by a single mother in Chicago, and now helps families living in poverty in the windy city through her Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
Hudson has won dozens of awards for her work, including a Grammy for best R&B album, and an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in Dreamgirls. Her songs have racked up hundreds of millions of streams, and her breakout single “Spotlight” reached the number one spot on Billboard’s Hip Hop/R&B songs.
Throughout her career, however, the singer-songwriter has never forgotten her roots, and has become a staunch advocate for a range of issues both personal and learned.
Hudson brings her powerful voice and passion for social justice to the inaugural Global Citizen Prize award ceremony in London, where she performs alongside John Legend, Raphael Saadiq, Sting, Stormzy, and special guests Chris Martin, H.E.R., and Jorja Smith.
With the ceremony held at the Royal Albert Hall on Dec. 13, the Global Citizen Prize was created to celebrate people in different sectors who are committed to achieving justice and equality for all. You can find out how and when to tune in and watch the show wherever you are here, as it’s broadcast around the world throughout December.
The artists performing in support of the event are all activists in their own way.
For Hudson, helping support others is an essential part of being a celebrity. She’s advocated for dozens of issues throughout her life, according to the celebrity charity tracker Look to the Stars.
She’s donated to charities supporting human rights, education, and health care and those fighting HIV/AIDS, hunger, and human trafficking.
“Any time you’re helping someone is very important and, of course, when children are involved,” she said. “I feel like your celebrity is not about the fortune or the fame. But if you can’t help anyone then it’s in vain, it’s pointless.”
While Hudson’s passion extends across lots of different issues, she’s focused special attention on uplifting children living in poverty in the United States. Through the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, named after her nephew who was murdered in an episode of domestic violence, she’s provided thousands of students with free school supplies.
"I started it in the basement of my church, all because I wanted my sister to look forward to her son's birthday again,” she said at a Create & Cultivate event in Chicago. “We provide all the kids in Chicago with what they need to go back to school. We come from a single parent home, so we give back to the kids and make sure they have their school supplies."
In 2017, 12.9 million children throughout the US lived in poverty — which prevents children being able to properly access things like nutritious food, healthcare, and education.. The Julian D. King Gift Foundation is a way for Hudson to honor her nephew by helping students get a chance to thrive.
"Julian loved going to school and learning," the organization said in a press release. "Jennifer and Julia want to help other kids through his memory by making sure they have access to everything they need to have a successful school year."
To learn more about the Global Citizen Prize and how you can tune in to watch the show as it’s broadcast around the world this month click here. You can find out all about Global Citizen’s 2020 campaign, Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream, and how you can be involved here.
Proud partners of the Global Citizen Prize include Comcast NBCUniversal, MSNBC, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, Citi, Live Nation, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Motsepe Foundation.