Rapper Tobe Nwigwe added to UAB International Festival lineup

Nwigwe, a self-described “first-generation-Nigerian kid from Alief,” near Houston, will perform at the UAB International Festival on March 30.

Rapper Tobe Nwigwe has been added as a headlining act at the University of Alabama at Birmingham International Festival, Saturday, March 30.

Nwigwe joins a lineup that includes Grammy-nominated Panamanian hip-hop group Los Rakas, American-Palestinian choreographer and “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist Janelle Issis, dance company Step Afrika, and UAB African dance troop Tribe.

The festival will feature food, music, art, film and cultural traditions to provide both UAB Blazers and the Greater Birmingham community a chance to “travel around the world” in a day.

Nwigwe is a self-described “first-generation-Nigerian kid from Alief,” near Houston, Texas.

The lyrics and tone of his music tell the story of a difficult upbringing, like other rappers who grew up in the proverbial hood, according to his artist bio. While his work is authentic, “the man is a beacon of positivity and graciousness,” and the same songs that describe shootouts and the loss of childhood friends also speak on the power of faith and the importance of purpose. He says his goal in life is “to make purpose popular.”

After a career-ending knee injury in his senior year changed the course of his life away from college ball and the NFL, Nwigwe turned to his faith and found a new calling; he would teach others to “move through purpose.” His self-started nonprofit foundation, TEAM GINI, educates students on the merits of a purpose-driven existence. The name is derived from “Gini Bu Nkpa Gi?” the Igbo translation for “What’s Your Purpose?” Nwigwe has attracted fans across the globe, and counts some cultural heavyweights including Erykah Badu, Sway Calloway and Dave Chappelle among them.

The UAB International Festival will take place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Hill Student Center, 1400 University Blvd. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for UAB faculty and staff, and free for UAB students with a valid ONE Card. Purchase tickets online and visit the UAB International Festival online at www.uab.edu/internationalfestival for information, activity and performance schedule, vendors, and other important updates.

Guests can also look forward to a growing list of international and local food and merchandise vendors, including Miami Fusion, Silver Coin Indian Grill, Chill (Thai Ice Cream and bubble tea), iCantina, Melanin Jewels, Afric Embroidery, Coconut Hut, K&J’s Pastries, Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking, Red Sea Ethiopian & Mediterranean Restaurant, Ruscelli’s Food Truck at Mojo Pub, Red Sea Grocery, and more. In addition to the outdoor concert and vendors, attendees can also enjoy a short-film series, interactive cultural activities, an international fashion showcase and live cultural performances, as well as family-friendly entertainment at the Kids’ Corner, sponsored by the Birmingham Museum of Art.