Esera Tuaolo couldn’t stop smiling at Wednesday night’s “Inclusion Party” in downtown Minneapolis.
Tuaolo, 49, hosted the first such NFL-endorsed party, sponsored by Adidas, aimed at improving the relationship between the league and the LGBT community.
“This isn’t just an NFL party or a LGBTQ party,” the former Vikings defensive tackle said. “It’s a party for everyone.”
Messages of love and inclusivity lined the inside of the Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis, where the event was held. Volunteers wore bright blue “Inclusion” T-shirts and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey led the crowd with a chant of “Hate is wrong” (also the name of Tuaolo’s organization).
For about an hour before Tuaolo and the other contestants from NBC’s “The Voice” started performing, local DJ Shannon Blowtorch spun tracks from Britney Spears to Ginuwine.
Upstairs, surrounded by friends and fans, Tuaolo expressed amazement at the turnout and support.
“This is incredible,” he said.