The Minneapolis Somali community learned Friday that HBO has decided not to move forward with the series “Mogadishu, Minnesota.”
HBO announced that it would not take on the show, the making of which led to protests in Minneapolis over its depiction of the Somali-American community. The TV network confirmed the announcement in a statement Friday.
“We value the relationship we’ve built working with the talented K’Naan Warsame and hope to have a chance to work with him in the future,” the statement reads.
The pilot of the show, directed and created by Somali-Canadian rapper K’naan, was shot in Minneapolis last fall. The project included Kathryn Bigelow, a director whose films have upset some in the Muslim community.
Last September, protesters shut down K’naan’s neighborhood block party in the Cedar-Riverside area, marching, chanting and carrying signs that read “K’naan and Bigelow — Stop exploiting the Somali community.”
Organizer Filsan Ibrahim said Friday that she felt as if the protests paid off. “We were only fighting for us to be seen in a positive light,” she said.
Some from the community had been concerned that the show would stereotype Somalis as potential terrorists — an image the community has been fighting. “There is more to Somalis in America,” Ibrahim said.
K’naan had previously described the show as a family drama set within a Somali-American family and following a second-generation American named Sameer.
Feelings about the project in the Somali-American community weren’t uniform. On Friday, some from the community took to social media to express disappointment about the decision.
The announcement is sure to disappoint many. A major TV series filming in Minnesota would have pumped millions of dollars into the local economy and could have drawn other high-profile productions to the area.
Beatrice Dupuy • 612-673-1707