Kid Rock is set to open a new sports arena in a mostly Black Detroit area and some residents aren’t happy.
According to Page Six, the rock singer was selected by Olympia Entertainment to open the new Little Caesars Arena next week. The venue will be home to the NHL’s Red Wings and the NBA’s Pistons. Rock, who is from the Detroit suburbs, has six concerts planned at the $860 million, 20,000-seat arena, starting next Tuesday. Peter Hammer, the director of the Damon J Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University, called Kid Rock’s scheduled performance “incredibly tone deaf.”
Kid Rock has waved Confederate flags at his concerts, supported Donald Trump, and has explicitly said “F*ck Colin Kaepernick” over his protest of the National Anthem. “Everything is different post-Charlottesville,” Hammer said, referring to the racist violence in Virginia back in August. “These are moments where you have to act as a matter of character and state what your values are. Everything now is becoming symbolic. That means we have to choose our symbols carefully.”
People who support Kid Rock argue that he’s contributed much to the city. In 2011, the NAACP’s Detroit chapter even gave Kid Rock an award for his community work. Rock called the controversy around his Confederate flag use a “fiasco.” He continued, “I’ve never flown that flag with any hate in my heart. Not one ounce.” The night he got his NAACP award he told nearly 10,000 people, “I love America. I love Detroit, and I love Black people.”
The National Action Network’s Detroit chapter is still planning a protest against Rock next week. They want Kid Rock’s concerts to be canceled. “When you hire Kid Rock, who is known to be dog-whistling and cat-calling to White supremacist organizations and the White supremacist community, alt-right, whatever you want to call them, and you take our tax dollars to do that? That’s wrong,” said Rev. Charles Williams II, president of the NAN’s Detroit chapter.
Webster Public Relations, which represents Kid Rock, said last week that he will disclose some of his political views and aspirations to fans after his first song on Tuesday.