A Tunde Olaniran performance is everything all at once: Afro-centric rhythms, interpretive movement, gorgeous costumes, pumping bass, with soulful, vulnerable lyrics belted from somewhere deep inside. Then there’s that contagious energy, the kind that wills audience members from their seats.
When Olaniran takes to the Ferndale Pride Main Stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 4, Pridegoers will, of course, discover all this for themselves. For the performance, the Flint native says they have two simple goals: getting audiences up and moving, and leaving them feeling “happier and energized.” In fact, Olaniran tells Pride Source they love to see who in the audience is first to “really let loose and start moving along with us!”
But dancing is only one part of a bigger picture. Pride events, Olaniran says, should focus on connection and community. Pride, they say, isn’t about them — or any other single performer. “It’s a community event, and we’re there to spread good energy for the day and to let people feel comfortable, joyful and connected to each other,” says Olaniran. “Pride events should be a place where LGBTQ+ people feel safe and welcomed and appreciated and see that their city, town and neighborhood are there for them the other 364 days in the year, not just for an afternoon.”
Still, they can’t wait to hit that stage. Like many musicians and artists, Olaniran had to hit the pause button on live performances during the pandemic. In fact, Ferndale Pride will mark their first live performance since 2019. “I’m really happy it’s in a city like Ferndale that always has such welcoming energy,” they say.
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