HBO has opted not to proceed with its drama pilot Mogadishu, Minnesota, written, directed and executive produced by rapper K’naan Warsame and executive produced by Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow.
“Mogadishu, Minnesota will not be moving forward as a series,” HBO said in a statement to Deadline. “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.
Mogadishu, Minnesota is a family drama that grapples with what it means to be American – among the Somalis of Minneapolis. It was ordered to pilot in June 2016, along with Adam McKay’s Succession, which was picked up to series in February.
The project was subject to scrutiny from the get-go. The filming of the pilot in Minneapolis faced objections from some in the local Somali community who were concerned the show may reinforce stereotypes that Muslims in the U.S. are involved in terrorist cells. While terrorism was part of the plot of Mogadishu, Minnesota, HBO executives have stressed in interviews it was a small part, and the drama was mostly about how young Somali Americans are torn between holding to their parents traditions and embracing American culture.
The political climate in the U.S. also changed dramatically since the pilot was ordered five months before the November election. The vote delivered a surprise win for Donald Trump, whose campaign was built on taking a hard line on immigration, which has carried onto the policies of his administration.
The pilot starred Elvis Nolasco, K.C. Collins, Rif Hutton, Ezana Alem, Hanad Abdirahman Abdi, Selam Tadese, Prince Abdi, Yusra Warsama and Liya Kebede. Carolyn Strauss also executive produced with Warsame and Bigelow.