Little Caesar's Arena will open to the general public on September 12th, spurning the residents of Detroit by selecting Kid Rock as it's first act. The stadium was granted $324.1 million in tax revenue, some of which initially earmarked for Detroit Public Schools. The Illitch family, owners of Olympia Entertainment, delivered false promises of employing 50% of their construction labor with Detroit residents when the actual figure was closer to 25%. Choosing potential Senate candidate Robert James "Kid Rock" Ritchie twists the dagger further, given the musician's ties to white supremacist political figures.
While the primary focus of the protest is Ritchie, the immediate harm to the people of Detroit by Olympia Entertainment should not be ignored. The company has failed residents in the past with similar deceptions regarding development around Comerica Park.
Ritchie, the self-proclaimed "Rock and Roll Son of Detroit," grew up on a six acre estate Romeo, MI, provided by wealth accrued from a father who owned multiple car dealerships in the region. While developing an interest (and music career) based around breakdancing and hip-hop in his early life, Ritchie gravitated towards Country rock in 2001.
He began using pro-slavery regalia such as Confederate flags during his shows for the next decade. Following a 2011 award by the NAACP, Ritchie claimed he "never flew the flag with hate in my heart" while protesters burned Confederate flags outside the ceremony at Cobo Hall. For the next five years he abstained from the use of white supremacist banners.
However, in 2016 he began breaking from the lyrics of his song "Born Free" at concerts to state "F--k Colin Kaepernick", in response to the quarterback's silent protest against police brutality. An odd choice of target, given that the musician's career was built off appropriating black culture throughout the 90s. Later that year, Ritchie exchanged his dog whistle for a regular one, printing a line of pro-Trump T-shirts featuring Islamophobic slogans, completing his return to white supremacist advocacy.
Given his threat to run against Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2018, MDPAN is calling on Michigan residents to come out in protest of his performance and show that his views run contrary to the will of the people.