There’s an uproar brewing in Detroit. And this one isn’t related to school test scores. Some supporters of the NAACP’s Detroit branch are boycotting its annual fundraiser on May 1. Why? Because Kid Rock is set to receive the branch’s Great Expectations award for his work in with young folks in and around Detroit.
Kid Rock is known to sport a confederate flag in some of his performers, a fact that doesn’t sit well with many of the branch’s supporters.
“It’s a slap in the face for anyone who fought for civil rights in this country,” Adolph Mongo, political consultant and head of Detroiters for Progress, told the Detroit News. “It’s a symbol of hatred and bigotry.”
Rock defended his use of the flag in an interview with the Guardian back in 2008. “Sure, it’s definitely got some scars, but I’ve never had an issue with it,” he told the Guardian back in 2008. “To me it just represents pride in southern rock’ n’ roll, plus it just looks cool.”
The ‘it just looks cool’ argument obviously isn’t sitting well with the NAACP’s faithful. Rock, who was born Robert James “Bob” Ritchie in Romeo, Michigan, began his career as a rapper and eventually linked up with producer D-Nice from the legendary Boogie Down Productions in the early 90s. Though the passion was there, the money apparently wasn’t. The rapper turned to rock at the urging of studio executives, and became a hit sensation later in the decades with his album Devil Without a Cause. His popularity was especially high in the South.
The branch’s NAACP has sidestepped the controversy and insisted that the singer deserves the award. “Kid Rock … has consistently lifted up the Great Expectations of many persons … concerning the future of the city,” Donnell R. White, interim executive director of the Detroit Branch NAACP,” said in a statement, reports the Detroit News.