The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Best of 2016


If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that narratives have a huge impact on the balance of power. Here at the Twin Cities Daily Planet, we spent our year trying to shift that balance, by bringing the power of media into the hands of our communities and challenging the dominant narratives told about us.

2016 was also the Daily Planet’s first full year under the mission “amplifying and connecting marginalized voices,” and we were able to explore that mission in new, more meaningful ways, with help from new staff, nearly 50 new contributors and an audience that has liked, shared and commented on the platform more than ever before.

The following stories represent the best of what we built together this year. More likely than not, they’ve appeared on your newsfeed or in your inbox. Each story on this list was a top performer in page views and social media reach. But more importantly, these stories changed conversations – connecting the dots in ways that made us think and pushed us toward action.

We’ve come to the end of 2016 stronger than ever before thanks to you. Bring it on, 2017.

—The Daily Planet Editorial Team


Photo by Kayla Steinberg.

Twin Cities: Whitest hip hop scene you’ve ever heard of | Kayla Steinberg

Who is hip hop – a historically Black artform – for, when white artists are the most popular acts in town? Steinberg spoke with Toki Wright, Maria Isa and other great artists to bring us this keen analysis on what happens when hip hop confronts Minnesota Nice.


Scott Seekins in front of his artwork. Photo by Nikki Rykhus.“This is art about genocide” Native community pushes back against Scott Seekins | Katie Spielberger

Cultural appropriation was a big theme in our work in 2016, and this piece breaks down one of the worst examples in the Twin Cities art scene. Seekins’ exhibition was not only offensive, but perpetuated the erasure of Native Americans from history.


Tattoo artists and founders of Tailorbird Tattoo Ariel Cafarelli (left) and Alli Shelly (right). Photo by Annabelle Marcovici.

Two Minneapolis tattoo parlors drop industry’s toxic masculinity in favor of gender, LGBTQIA inclusivity | Jennifer Mazur

Mazur’s story highlighting the missions of two local tattoo shops has become a fast favorite. Featuring beautiful photos, the article jumped to third in overall page views after only a week since publication.


Local leaders share action steps folks can take to push the movement forward in light of the 2016 elections. First row from left: Corinne Horowitz, Sarah Goodspeed and Vina Kay. Second row: Alondra Cano and Antonia Alvarez. Third row: D.A. Bullock, Jennifer Arnold and Princess Titus.

Beyond protest signs and Facebook likes, here are 6 concrete actions Minnesotans can take to stay vigilant post-election | Cirien Saadeh

With many folks reeling after the 2016 election, we wanted to focus on steps that bring direct impact on local initiatives and politics. From housing to city elections, local community leaders share actions anyone can take if they’re serious about effecting change.


Members of the Minneapolis Highrise Resident Council and discuss how they feel about HBO's proposal to film its show "Mogadishu, Minnesota" at Cedar-Riverside Plaza on Oct. 5, 2016. Photo by Alexa Aretz.

Despite community rejection of HBO TV series, public officials support the ongoing production | Ayaan Dahir

First-time contributor Dahir brought in-depth insight on issues of representation and stereotypes in this story about Cedar-Riverside residents protesting the filming of the show “Mogadishu, Minnesota” in their homes.


Honorable Mentions


Michael Kleber-Diggs protests at the St. Anthony Police Department on Aug. 19 for the dismissal of Officer Jeronimo Yanez and for justice for Philando Castile. Photo by Thaiphy Phan-Quang.

Why doing everything right won’t save you: The Myth of respectability | Michael Kleber-Diggs

In the wake of Philando Castile’s death, some struggled to understand why a good man was killed. This honest think-piece points out how under white supremacy, being respectable isn’t enough to prevent Black folks from being killed by police.


Powderhorn Park, pictured above, is located in what the Minneapolis Park Board in a "racially concentrated area of poverty." Coincidentally, many of its amenities are outdated. Photo by Cristeta Boarini.

Years of inequities lead to ‘extremely rare’ racial lens applied to Minneapolis parks planning | Cristeta Boarini

When analyzing power in Minneapolis, many folks forget the city’s largest landowner: the Parks and Recreation Board. This piece features stories and video from the many grassroots organizers that are taking back power.