#AGreatCityRises and the toll of gentrification on Northeast Minneapolis

I stopped at the corner trying desperately to remember the potholes and broken concrete I knew as a child. I creeped the car – like I would have back in the day – down the now perfectly manicured road with its “vintage” appeal, missing the cracked and crumbling concrete. My family came to Minneapolis after being forced out of St. Cloud by folks who thought that two blind people could not be adequate parents. For as long as I can remember, 216 Fifth Ave. Continue Reading

When white families avoid talking about race, families of color shoulder the burden of respectability

The first thing I was taught about race was that it didn’t matter. Like so many others I was taught to ignore the color of a person’s skin and to judge people on the “content of their character.” This was the extent of my racial formation. This color-ignorance became the dominant approach after the Civil Rights movement, and has only gained steam in the supposedly post-racial world the election of Barack Obama ushered in. The problem with color-ignorance is that it erases the reality of racism and leaves white folks incapable of understanding the experiences of people of color, and therefore incapable of contributing to justice in meaningful ways. Nothing illustrates this inability better than the phenomenon of respectability and what it signifies depending on your race. Continue Reading

Prince Legacy Project Vol. II: I Self Devine

The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Prince Legacy Project features local black artists inspired by the life and music of Minneapolis’ own Prince Rogers Nelson.

In Vol. II, artist organizer Chaka Mkali, AKA I Self Devine, shares a painting rooted–as Prince was–in Minneapolis.

“There’s often a conversation of Prince transcending race… but when you say it in that fashion it’s as if we don’t have to have that conversation around gender, race or class–what defined him, especially coming from a place like Minneapolis, that is typically eurocentric. To be who he was is like salmon swimming upstream, and is the result is the environment he created. His own universe,” Mkali said. Continue Reading

Prince Legacy Project Vol. I: Mike Queenz

“Prince was a very clear statement for a lot of queer folks. He was able to be that thing and embody this, I don’t know this energy that so many people have pent up inside or can’t express… Whatever it is, society doesn’t want to accept queerness, especially when it’s coming from black people, or masculine folks. I think Prince was just that thing, that epitome of what it means to be a carefree, queer, black, genderbending person.” –Mike Queenz Continue Reading

cow tipping press

‘You talk, I’ll type’ Cow Tipping Press offers new space for writers

Taking a class with Cow Tipping Press was the first time Rob Bergerson had ever tried his hand at poetry–let alone read it aloud—which he did, at one of Cow Tipping Press’s public reading events. The reason he’d never done these things before was not, he said, because he didn’t think he could do them. He could. It was simply because until then, he hadn’t had an outlet. Continue Reading