HBO’s request to film show in Minneapolis building; Residents vote against the move

Published 10:44 am Friday, October 7, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Residents have barred HBO from filming at a Minneapolis high-rise apartment building for what the company describes as a Somali-American family drama series.

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority had provisionally approved the filming of “Mogadishu, Minnesota” outside the Cedar-Riverside area building if residents agreed and would be paid location fees.

But MPR News reported that the residents voted against the move Wednesday night, citing the potential disruption to their daily lives and concerns that Somali Americans would be portrayed in a negative light. The meeting of residents was organized by the nonprofit Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council.

Email newsletter signup

“And anybody who knows HBO, no one is watching that to talk about a Somali family. They don’t care about that,” said Burhan Mohamud, a student. “They care about what is happening in Minneapolis. They care about all these headlines.”

The show’s writer and director, Somali-Canadian musician K’naan, said in a statement that the show’s objective is to accurately portray Muslim Americans’ lives.

“When national and international discourse is driven by a perceived Islamic threat, ‘Mogadishu, Minnesota’ intends to look behind the generalizations and assumptions to reveal the truth about what daily life is like for Muslim Americans across a range of religiosities,” K’naan said in the statement.

Producers of the HBO show said in a statement that they will respect the tenant’s wishes and not film at the Cedar-Riverside area building. However the company will still shoot at about a dozen other locations in Minneapolis.