Jennifer Hudson's son inspires her to become environmental campaigner

Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson has teamed up with energy giant Shell to create an interactive music video and support the launch of a solar energy project in Brazil.

Shell has worked with a Brazilian start-up company to install solar panels in one of Rio de Janeiro’s most headline-grabbing favelas, Santa Marta.

It is the start of a global ‘energy relay’ known as Make the Future, that will see Shell and six energy entrepreneurs provide sustainable technology in some of the world’s most deprived areas.

And Jennifer, 35, has revealed it was her son David - her child with her WWE wrestler fiancé David Otunga - who pushed her to want to join #makethefuture as she wants him to inherit a more harmonious planet.

She said: “We all face moments of adversity in life and often it’s simply the hand one has been dealt. But there is so much that we can do to support one another as a unified force and that is just one of the many reasons why I’m supporting the Santa Marta community. My son David turned seven this year, and I want him to grow up and inherit a planet where everyone is working together on one accord for the greater good.”

Jennifer was confirmed as a coach on The Voice UK last night alongside fellow newcomer Gavin Rossdale, returning panellist Sir Tom Jones and existing coach

The Dreamgirls actress - who grew up in crime-plagued Chicago neighbourhood Englewood - recently opened up about how her son David saved her life after her mother, brother and nephew were murdered.

Speaking last year, she said: “I went from being an aunt, having a mom and being a child to not having a mom, becoming a mom, and raising my own child. I tell David all the time, 'You saved my life’.”

Jennifer’s mother Darnell Donnerson and brother Jason were found shot dead in their Chicago home in October 2008. The body of her seven-year-old nephew Julian was found just days later.

Her sister Julia’s estranged husband William Balfour was later sentenced to three life sentences for the crime.

Jennifer has worked with five international musicians on the Make the Future campaign - Pixie Lott, Brazilian singer Luan Santana, American DJ Steve Aoki, Chinese musician Tan WeiWei and Nigerian pop idol Yemi Alade.

They have created an interactive music video featuring the song Best Day Of My Life, which can be viewed at

Pixie, Luan and Yemi played a concert in Rio’s Santa Marta favela on Wednesday to celebrate the installation of 150 solar panels in community centres including a samba school and creche.

The installation will help the favela’s 8,000 residents, who suffer from a lack of access to reliable, affordable energy.

Brazil-based start-up company Insolar is installing the solar panels in Santa Marta, which will provide the equivalent of 185,000 days of free, clean power to the community.

Insolar is one of six businesses being backed by Shell, whose clean energy innovations are on display in Santa Marta.

Despite this year’s Rio Olympics bringing money into Brazil, the South American country is still blighted by a lack of infrastructure and reliable public services.

An estimated 1.4 million residents of Rio’s 763 favelas are affected by rising energy prices and an unreliable power supply.

In 2014, Brazilian football icon Pelé teamed up with Shell to launch the world’s first solar-powered football pitch in Rio’s Morro da Mineira favela.

In October, #makethefuture will move on to Kenya, where Shell is working with GravityLight - a UK-based start-up that has developed a gravity-powered lamp designed to improve health and wellness across Kenya by bringing clean, affordable light to low income homes.

Search #makethefuture for more information and visit

You can sign the pledge for a cleaner energy future worldwide at

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