Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., is a peace activist, motivational speaker, and video journalist known as the Free Hugs Guy online. Nwadike Jr is the founder of the Free Hugs Project, which produces motivational videos to spread love, inspire change, and raise awareness of social issues. His ‘Free Hugs’ videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube.
Once a homeless athlete himself, Ken is a leader who exemplifies resiliency and the power to pivot, creating a PPE company during the pandemic to protect his loved ones and those at risk who could not find them. He began the Black and Blue Podcast in 2020 with Sherriff Chris Swanson to make Unity cool and engage students in the civil discourse necessary for us all to move forward. With so many feeling alone due to the impact of COVID-19, Ken has the power to create truly important connections and positive human interaction .
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 peace-keeping efforts and de-escalating violence during protests, riots, and political rallies. Nwadike was featured in Google’s 2016 Year in Search video as a highlight of some of the year’s most defining moments. Nwadike has made many appearances on news programs and radio broadcasts worldwide, including CNN, USA Today, Good Morning Britain, and BBC News. Ken has spoken at hundreds of Colleges and Universities and is a favorite at high-schools and corporations. Ken was the 2017 featured keynote speaker at NACA National convention, and was also chosen to speak at the 2018 and 2020 National convention and many regional NACA events.