Ken E. Nwadike Jr

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Ken E. Nwadike Jr
Free Hugs Guy
Personal information
Born (1981-12-29) December 29, 1981 (age 36)
San Diego, California, United States
Occupation
Website freehugsproject.com
YouTube information
Also known as Free Hugs Guy
Years active 2014–Present
Genre
Subscribers 82,036 subscribers
(4th April 2018)
Total views 5.7 million views
(4th April 2018)
Network Studio71

Ken E. Nwadike Jr is a peace activist, inspirational speaker, and video journalist popularly known as the Free Hugs Guy.[1] Ken is the founder of the Free Hugs Project. His "Free Hugs" videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube.[2]

Career[edit]

In 2014, Nwadike launched the Free Hugs Project to spread love in response to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The Free Hugs Project gained popularity in 2016, as Nwadike made major news headlines for his peacekeeping efforts and de-escalation of violence during protests, riots, and political rallies.[3] Nwadike was featured in Google's 2016 Year in Search video as a highlight among some of the year's most defining moments.[4] Nwadike has made many appearances on news programs and radio broadcasts worldwide, including CNN, USA Today, Good Morning Britain, and BBC News.

Nwadike is the President and CEO of Superhero Events, LLC, which produces the annual Hollywood Half Marathon. The marathon, held each spring in Hollywood, California to raise funds for local homeless youth shelters.[5]

On March 30, 2016, Nwadike released the controversial "Donald Trump Rally Free Hugs vs Bernie Sanders Rally Free Hugs" video to his "Free Hugs Project" channels on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.[6] The video became a viral hit and his #MakeAmericaLoveAgain hashtag became a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.[7] Nwadike's "Free Hugs" videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube.[8]

As a motivational speaker, Ken details his former homelessness and states that he overcame insecurities by getting involved in extracurricular activities in school.The support, he says, he received from coaches, teammates, and friends while playing sports and participating in student government activities, helped pave the way for Ken to start a number of businesses and a charitable organization that helps homeless teens.[9]

The Free Hugs Project is a program conducted at workplaces and colleges. Nwadike converses with students and employees during small group discussions. His visit concludes with a keynote address. He has stated that his program intends to promote unity, civility and to bridge the racial divide and to build a more diverse and inclusive culture.[10]

Live Appearances[edit]

Aside from YouTube and Facebook videos, Nwadike has appeared on worldwide news programs and radio broadcasts.

  • April 4, 2012 - Nwadike was featured on an NBC 4 Los Angeles special, titled, Life Connected.[11]
  • April 5, 2016 - Nwadike interview with Pix 11 news to share why he launched the Free Hugs Project.[12]
  • March 23, 2016 - Free Hugs Guy interviewed live on set during the Fox 5 San Diego morning show to discuss the Free Hugs Project and give hugs to news anchors.[13]
  • September 16, 2016 - Ken teams up with the hosts of Good Morning Britain in London to launch Free Hugs Friday.[14]
  • September 23, 2016 - Nwadike was interviewed live on CNN with Poppy Harlow after Charlotte Protests. [15]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated Award Result
2017 Ken E. Nwadike, Jr. Most-Admired Public Leader in San Diego[16] Won
2017 Ken E. Nwadike, Jr. Simeon Booker Award for Courage Won
2017 Ken E. Nwadike, Jr. Citizen Achievement Award Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Man Offers Hugs At Trump And Sanders Rallies, Asks Which America We Want". The Huffington Post. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Deaderick, Lisa (7 May 2016). "Making the world better, a hug at a time". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Peterson, Karla (31 October 2016). "In failing the homeless, San Diego stands apart". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Tremelling, Miriam (21 December 2016). "Google's 'Year in Search 2016' connects with message of hope". Campaign US. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Hollywood Half Marathon". NBC Los Angeles. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Free Hugs Project shows difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump rallies". AM New York. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Here's What Happens When You Ask for a Hug at a Trump Rally Versus a Sanders Rally". Yahoo News. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Deaderick, Lisa (7 May 2016). "Making the world better, a hug at a time". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Peace Activist / Motivational Speaker". Free Hugs Project. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Peace Activist / Motivational Speaker". Free Hugs Project. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Formerly Homeless Man Directs Race to Benefit Local Shelters". NBC 4 Los Angeles. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "'Free Hugs' man wants to make America LOVE again with free hugs". Pix 11 News New York. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "'Free Hugs' guy brings project to San Diego". Fox 5 San Diego. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Time to celebrate Free Hugs Friday!". ITV Good Morning Britain. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Activist hands out 'Free Hugs' amid violent protests in Charlotte". CNN. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  16. ^ Murphy, Nelson (April 24, 2017). "The Malin Burnham Awards - Vote for the Most Admired Leaders in San Diego". MNM Communications. Retrieved June 5, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]