Detroit's white mayor weighs in on Kid Rock, Little Caesars Arena controversy

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The many-layered controversy surrounding Kid Rock's performance at the new taxpayer-financed pizza palace just got a little thicker thanks to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Duggan kicked off the week shouting proudly about the economic impact of the pizzarena during an over-the-top ribbon-cutting at the site on Tuesday. On Wednesday, after unveiling an effort to stop illegal dumping in parts of the city still being treated like a trash heap, Duggan seemed to dismiss the controversy over the inaugural role that Colin Kaepernick-hating, formerly Confederate flag-waving Kid Rock will play at the Little Caesars Arena.

"He's an entertainer," Duggan said in response to a question about the issue from WXYZ's Kimberly Craig. "My feeling is, if you don't like Kid Rock's politics or music — don't go to the concert."

The thing is, it's not just a concert. Kid Rock will headline six concerts, and he'll have a permanent presence at the pizzarena with a restaurant as well.


Facebook commenters speaking on the issue below a post by gadfly and former Detroit police officer John Bennett were quick to condemn Duggan's statement, calling it tone-deaf and unhelpful for his re-election effort. Duggan will face off with Coleman Young II, the son of Detroit's first black mayor, in the November election. Young has sought to portray Duggan, a white man from Livonia, as out of touch with the struggles of average residents in the majority-minority city.

"Hope all of Detroit heard that because the majority of Detroit proper probably don't agree with Rock's politics and the Confederate flag that he loves," said a Detroit-born man who now resides in Sterling Heights. "Maybe those that don't like Rock politics shouldn't vote for someone that doesn't care [if] they don't."

Meanwhile, the leader of the civil rights group that has planned a protest over Kid Rock's performances and called for their cancellation decried the mayor's comment in an interview Friday.

"I feel like it's a slap in the face," National Action Network Michigan president Rev. Charles Williams II told Metro Times. "I mean you're talking about 80 percent African Americans in this city who are being disrespected by what Kid Rock represents.

"That statement shows [Duggan is] very disconnected to what 'black lives matter' means, what Colin Kaepernick is doing, and what the Confederate flag means to African Americans."

Duggan made the comment in a reporter scrum following a news conference on the new illegal dumping effort. On Friday, we asked the mayor's office whether Duggan stands by his statement in light of resident concerns. We are awaiting a response.


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