Movie star and singer Jennifer Hudson has a new starring role: the face of Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2011 Key to the Cure campaign. The celebrity will be shot in a limited-edition Elie Tahari-designed T-shirt for a public service announcement, with profits from the shirt’s sales helping to fund the work of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund, reported WWD.
To be released in magazines starting September, the announcement will encourage shoppers to make a difference by purchasing the $35 tee.
Hudson will also front at a launch affair at Saks to kick off the luxury department store’s charity shopping weekend, held Oct. 20 to 23 at all Saks and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th stores.
“Women’s cancers have touched all of our lives,” Hudson said to WWD. “I am proud to join the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Saks Fifth Avenue in their efforts to raise funds for important research through EIF’s Cancer Research Fund.”
The Chicago singer is definitely a well-recognized figure on the musical scene, having performed at the SuperBowl and the Grammys. That kind of fame was exactly what Tahari was looking for.
“When she got on stage, it was incredible,” Tahari said after seeing Hudson perform. “She captured everybody’s attention and got a standing ovation. Jennifer has amazing soul and spirit in her singing. Her voice is so strong that she takes you with her.”
Echoing the Key to the Cure name, this year’s shirt design boasts an image of a heart, entirely shaped by a cluster of keys. “The heart is made out of keys that are rough around the edges,” Tahari reported. “This is [intentionally] not a perfect heart because these are terrible diseases we are fighting.”
Since the Key to the Cure’s inception 13 years ago, Saks and its collaborators have generated more than $33 million for cancer research and women’s treatment facilities scattered across the nation. The funds have been directed toward beneficiaries such as The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, EIF’s Cancer Research Fund, the Cleveland Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Nevada Cancer Institute.
Saks CEO Stephen I. Sadove is excited to work with such an accomplished singer.
“Jennifer Hudson is a talented celebrity with wide appeal. Fans watched her get her start on ‘American Idol’ and a couple years later she was receiving an Academy Award. Jennifer is a natural role model who has become a face for positivity,” he said. We look forward to hosting Jennifer in N.Y.C. at a private cocktail party on Oct. 20 to celebrate the launch.”
Tahari’s objective this year is straightforward: “To sell out all the shirts in the weekend.”
The T-shirt will be available at Saks stores starting Oct. 1.