Singer Kid Rock posted a Facebook statement Monday, including “I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!” in response to criticism after he was named headline opener for Detroit’s new stadium, Little Caesars Arena. The singer is set to perform six consecutive shows in September at the Detroit Red Wings’ new stadium, and various civil rights groups have voiced disapproval.
The criticism stemmed from the singer’s use of the Confederate flag in shows for years. He featured the flag in his concerts from 2001 to 2011 and stopped doing so after receiving an NAACP award. However, this summer the video for “Po Dunk” came out, featuring a pregnant woman wearing a t-shirt with the Confederate flag.
Among the denouncers was Detroit political consultant Same Riddle, director of the Michigan National Network. “So the Red Wings will open their new arena in Detroit next month with Kid Rock, a known lover of the Confederate flag, a hate symbol,” Riddle said. “Now the Wings wonder why and object to white supremacists using the Wings logo?”
Stephen Henderson of Detroit Free Press called the decision to have Rock perform at the new stadium a “middle finger” to Detroiters, pointing out that the city is 80% black and that Rock’s behavior could be considered an affront to the African American culture.
All of the attention comes at a time when Rock has stated he is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican from Michigan. Historically, he has spoken in favor of Republican ideas. He endorsed Mitt Romney for president and performed at the 2012 Republican National Convention. In 2016 he supported Donald Trump for president.
The singer, 46, hails from Romeo, a city located in the Detroit metropolitan area. His lengthy Facebook response Monday opened with, “People! Pay NO attention to the garbage the extreme left is trying to create… They are trying to use the old confederate flag BS, etc. to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office. Pretty funny how scared I have them all and their only agenda is to try and label people / me racist who do not agree or cower to them!!”
The singer went on to say, “My track record in Detroit and Michigan speaks for itself, and I would dare anyone talking trash to put theirs up against mine. I am also a homeowner and a taxpayer in the city of Detroit, so suck on that too!”
Civil rights groups, such as Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, have stated they plan to stage protests outside the arena during Rock’s performances, the first of which is Tuesday night.