Republican rocker Kid Rock and his fans will be met with protesters when the Donald Trump-loving musician kicks off a six-show run to officially open Detroit’s new tax-subsidized Little Caesars Arena on Sept. 12.
Many Detroiters are baffled and furious that the Ilitch family’s Olympia Entertainment would host a kickoff concert featuring a country rock artist who has used the Confederate flag as a backdrop for his shows. Last month, Kid Rock, who reportedly is considering a senate run, exclaimed, “Fuck Colin Kaepernick!” at a concert in Iowa.
Protesters plan to gather outside the arena from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to “rally against symbols of white supremacy and hate in our amazing city of Detroit.”
Detroit taxpayers will spend more than $800 million over the next 35 years paying off bonds to finance the arena and the Pistons’ move to the facility. Kid Rock also is opening a restaurant at the arena.
Kid Rock, who told protesters to “Kiss my ass!” for urging him to distance himself from the Confederate flag in 2015, has been an outspoken supporter of the president and released a pro-Trump merchandise line that labeled any pro-Hillary Clinton state “Dumbfuckistan.” In April, he joined Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent during a visit with Trump at the White House.
In Detroit, Trump received just 3% of the vote.
When Olympia announced the concerts in January, the company called Kid Rock “the perfect entertainer to open Little Caesars Arena.”
Many Detroiters were incensed.
“At best, the selection is naively tone-deaf. At worst, it’s an affront to people of color who feel left out of improvements in their own city,” Detroit native Camille Johnson wrote for Bridge on Thursday.
The protest was recently announced on Facebook.
“The arena is a venue that was created by the tax dollars of a city that is overwhelmingly black and brown, many of whom are decedents of African American refugees who felt such symbolic and literal violence in the American South,” the Facebook event reads. “We will not let our great city be represented by a individual that uses a symbol of hate and marginalization for his own self gain!”
Olympia couldn’t be reached for comment.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.