I moved to Minneapolis for Prince

On the left, we took a photo in the car, before we went into Paisley Park last summer. Prince doesn’t allow photos or alcohol in his parties. On the right, Paisley Park at night. Credit: Angilee Shah

On the day of Prince’s death, I wrote a remembrance.

I don’t remember not listening to Prince. After college, I got my first job in Los Angeles and moved into a motel-turned-apartment on La Cienega Boulevard. The street was busy and, like most of my neighbors had experienced at one time or another, my old Civic was broken into in my first few months on the block. They smashed a back window, took my tennis bag and a pair of heels I wore into the office. I made peace in my heart with the thief, though, mostly because the only CD he or she took from my collection was “The Very Best of Prince.”

Prince to me was Los Angeles, and I love Los Angeles. So whoever had the good taste to cherry-pick his music from the pack was OK with me. I couldn’t blame them. I had barely enough money at the time to fix the back window. I replaced the Prince CD first.

Read the full story at PRI.org.

Pressure points and identity in America

Last week, I reported on the protest and shootings in Minneapolis. I focused on the ways that Somali immigrants have coped and joined the protest. It’s really made me think about this moment in America: Being an immigrant, Muslim and black—what does it do to someone’s psyche to see so much bad news?

Mohamed Samatar, 23, speaks to a police officer at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis. He wrote on his Instagram account: “What am I supposed to do when you rage war against the lives you’re supposed to protect and serve?” Credit: Thaiphy Phan-Quang

Mohamed Samatar, a 23-year-old artist and activist in Minneapolis, has decided it’s time to take a break. Last week, a group of white men shot into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, wounding five people. Protesters are calling it a hate crime; police and prosecutors not yet said whether they agree.

<a href="http://www click to find out more.pri.org/stories/2015-11-25/black-lives-matter-activist-taking-break-not-giving-justice-minneapolis” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘outbound-article’, ‘http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-11-25/black-lives-matter-activist-taking-break-not-giving-justice-minneapolis’, ‘Read more about Samatar at PRI.org’]);” >Read more about Samatar at PRI.org.

I also joined Jon Wiener on KPFK in Los Angeles to explain what’s happening in Minneapolis.


I spent time trailing Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Minnesota. The day after shootings at the protest, he was calling for an end to discrimination on two fronts; he joined Black Lives Matter protests and spoke at a university about the pressures faced by Muslims in the state.

Read more about Hussein at PRI.org.

Minneapolis event: Film and discussion of adoption, migration, identity

I’m on my first panel in Minnesota and looking forward to it!

Panelists at the Nokomis Library screening of the documentary "You Follow"
Panelists at the Nokomis Library screening of the documentary “You Follow”

It’s a screening of a documentary called “You Follow,” a documentary about adoption and identity. It will be followed by a panel discussion of the film as well as migration and culture. I’m looking forward to getting to know this very dynamic group of people. Come join the event at Nokomis Library on August 22. More information here.