Hundreds march on Little Caesar’s Arena to protest Kid Rock opener

Thousands more, nearly all white, stream in to concert

White supremacists with Confederate flag, other paraphernalia, protected by police, march marshals

Detroiters  pay for billionaires to play 

By Diane Bukowski 

September 16, 2017 

Kid Rock gets award from Detroit NAACP Pres. Wendell Anthony at 2011 Freedom Fund dinner. Anthony hosted Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s announcement of his run for re-election this year. Duggan has refused to speak out to denounce Kid Rock.

DETROIT—Chanting “No Justice, No Pizza!” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA,” hundreds marched on the Kid Rock concert which formally opened Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit Sept. 12. Kid Rock still uses the hated symbol of slavery, the Confederate flag, in his videos and previously onstage. 

He has engaged in a series of racist rants against the organizers of the march, the National Action Network, and others. He called civil rights activist Sam Riddle of NAN a “piece of shit criminal” and “prime example of a lot that has been wrong with Detroit. He continues to blast former NFL San Francisco 49er’s player Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand during the national anthem at pro football games as a protest against racism.

Detroit taxpayers have underwritten two-thirds of the costs of the arena, $536 million for the Red Wings, from tax increments including school, library, city, county and state taxes. Another $20 million in brownfield tax breaks and $34.5 million in taxpayer-backed Downtown Development Authority bonds will pay for modifications to the Arena to accommodate the Pistons and NBA players. 

The City Council earlier voted 7-2 to approve the additional $54.5 million in tax costs, with only Council President Brenda Jones and Councilwoman voting no.

Ground was broken for the arena while Detroit was still undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, which have bankrupted not the banks, but city residents and retirees. The city’s debt has skyrocketed 300 percent since the bankruptcy.

DAREA Pres. William Davis at left next to Mary Waters

“We do not like the fact of all of this corporate welfare, we do not like the fact that while our tax dollars that should be going for our schools, our colleges, our libraries, not only is Kid Rock the opening act but they give him a restaurant,” William Davis, President of the Detroit Active and Retired City Employees Association (DAREA), said during the opening rally. “Why is there not one single Black business in the new arena?”

Former State Rep. Rashida Tlaib called for a boycott of Little Caesar’s Pizza, owned by the Illitch family, which named the new arena. That gave rise to the chant of “No Justice, No Pizza.”

Other speakers referred to ongoing protests across the U.S. against the use of the Confederate flag, and the campaign to tear down monuments to Civil War Confederate generals, as racial tensions in the country rise.

Heavily guarded by Detroit police on horseback and foot, the marchers proceeded from Grand Circus Park past I-75 to the Little Caesar’s complex, where they rounded the median to march back down Woodward directly in front of the complex. Many marchers said they felt the police were here to protect them, but it was questionable whether they were instead protecting white supremacists and Kid Rock fans from the marchers.

It became clear that the march was meticulously planned to stay within certain boundaries and time limits, since the majority of Kid Rock fans had not arrived to flood the arena until after it passed back to Grand Circus Park. 

 Several of Kid Rock’s supporters displayed a large Confederate flag as marchers passed the Arena. Police and march marshals told protesters to “move along” although it was clear some wanted to take direct action against the hated symbol of slavery.

Neither Mayor Duggan, nor with many of the City’s Black mis-leaders, including Rev. Anthony, Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, and others who celebrated  Duggan’s announcement of his re-election bid, have condemned Kid Rock’s racism, but instead are pandering to him in the quest for funds.

Protester with sign denouncing Kid Rock’s affiliations.

More than that, they are evidently bought and paid for by Dan Gilbert and the Illitches, to whom they are selling the largest Black majority city in the country for pennies on the dollar.

Duggan just announced Sept. 13 that he was appointing multi-billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert, whose Bedrock Real Estate already owns most of downtown Detroit, to lead a committee to make a bid for online retail giant Amazon to bring its second North American headquarters to Detroit, along with 50,000 jobs.

Gilbert’s company Quicken Loans is being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for fraudulent and predatory mortgage lending practices, that have resulted in hundreds of foreclosures targeting Black-owned homes in the city of Detroit, part of the corporate drive to move Black Detroiters out of their city.

They clearly support moving in the people that flooded into Kid Rock’s opening concert at Little Caesar’s Arena. Like the other suburbanites who have been taking over Campus Martius and other downtown, Cass Corridor (Midtown) and Corktown venues, these folks have shown no respect for Black Detroiters and their proud history here. It is Black Detroiters who made this city the Motor City, Motown, and leader of the urban Black civil rights and nationalist movements of the 1960’s. It is Black Detroiters who at one point had the highest home ownership rate in the country, but now have the highest child poverty rate in the county, at 59 percent.

Now suburbanites party and move downtown into luxurious lofts, scorning the Blacks they see, many of whom are homeless and begging for hand-outs. They are victims of  Detroit’s de-industrialization and the theft of its publicly-owned entities including the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department, Detroit General Hospital, the Public Lighting Department, Belle Isle, the Detroit Public School District, and many others which once employed Blacks in unionized, good-paying jobs with benefits. 


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