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Take no shit, do no harm

Swedish dance-pop duo Icona Pop talks Pride



Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt hit the stage at Tulsa Pride as Icona Pop at 10 p.m. on May 31.

Fredrik Etoall

This year’s Tulsa Pride Street Festival will get a healthy dose of Euro-glam when headliner Icona Pop takes the stage. The Swedish electro-pop duo, comprised of Anio Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, has been thrilling audiences with their high-energy dance music since bursting onto the international club scene in 2009.

Jawo said the duo is happy to headline the festival because it represents their values. “We feel so honored and we’re so proud because everything about me and Caroline is about equality and expressing yourself,” she said. “That’s the thing we’ve been doing all of our lives.”

The LGBTQ+ community had much to do with Icona Pop’s rise to pop-stardom, which took off in earnest with their 2012 hit, “I Love It,” featuring Charli XCX. “I think we wouldn’t be here without the [LGBTQ+] community,” Jawo said. It was here that the duo’s music began to percolate and spread shortly after their formation in 2009.

Icona Pop’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community makes sense when you consider the message behind the music. “I mean, if you listen to the lyrics of our songs, it is a lot about—you know—‘Don’t take any shit. Stand up for what you believe in,’ and that’s also very liberating,” Jawo said. “It feels like celebrating.”

The two feed off of festival energy, striving to give a performance that unites the whole crowd in that feeling of celebration. “It’s such a beautiful vibe at a festival, it’s just pure love and people are happy. It’s all about celebrating music—and Pride is all about that,” Jawo said.

Caroline Hjelt, the other half of Icona Pop, said they are looking forward to checking out what Tulsa has to offer. “We’ve been to Oklahoma before, but it was so long ago, at the beginning of our career,” she said. “So we’re very excited to go back. Sometimes when we’re on tour we don’t have time to explore and see a place, so this time we are hoping to see more.”

“We want to go to some restaurants and check out some cool bars. We definitely want to experience it,” Jawo added.

The duo has been laying low for a while, but Hjelt said they are excited to be back and expect to release new music soon. “We are so happy and proud of the music and the songs we’ve been making. It’s been taking longer than we thought … and now we’re ready to show the world what we’ve been up to.”

Hjelt hinted that they might play some of their new material at Tulsa Pride, so gear up with your glitter and get to the show. Music performances will kick off when the Pride parade arrives at the Street Festival, with Icona Pop taking the stage at 10 p.m.


Check out our 2019 Tulsa Pride guide for more information on the festival.

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