Activists pressure sponsors of Kid Rock tour in Confederate flag flap
Civil Rights activists are telling Kid Rock it's time to denounce the flag and apologize for using it.
So far, he's refused - and so far big corporate sponsors are standing by the star.
"How can you represent Detroit when 80 percent of the city is African-American who under that banner he likes to wave," said Rev. Charles Williams president of the National Action Network Detroit chapter. "Would have been a slave."
He's called himself a "proud son of Detroit," and an "American bad ass." But controversy over the metro Detroit native's display of the Confederate flag is sparking a lot of emotion and a meeting with his summer tour sponsor General Motors.
"We're asking General Motors to not support you if you continue to herald this flag," Williams said.
Born Robert Ritchie, Kid Rock has been criticized for displaying the flag on stage for years. A GM spokesman tells FOX 2, representatives from Chevrolet will be meeting with Williams this week to better understand his concerns.
GM's spokesperson said:
"We need to let some open and constructive dialogue occur as a first step, and we'll go from there ... We are committed to our sponsorship of Kid Rock's summer tour and are confident that he will provide his fans, with a spectacular concert experience that celebrates American freedom."
GM insists the only flag that will be displayed will be the American flag, adding that Kid Rock has not used the Confederate flag on stage for several years.
FOX 2: "Even though Kid Rock doesn't display the flag on tour anymore, you're still bothered?"
"Part of it is, it's the defiance," Williams said. "It is the defiance and the continued promotion of the Confederate flag. When you (cross your arms) like this, I know what that means."
Despite the recent controversy, a spokesman for Palace Sports and Entertainment said Kid Rock's nearly one-dozen shows at DTE energy music theater this summer will go on.
A source close to Kid Rock Wednesday asks folks to get back to the facts. They say Kid Rock has not used the flag in more than five years and that he's proudly received an NAACP award and even has a mixed-race son.
"I would say I didn't call Kid Rock and ask him to fly the Confederate flag so I can do bunch of interviews and talk about the fact the Confederate flag has to do with slavery," Williams said. "He did that."
In past interviews Kid Rock has described the flag as a symbol of "southern rock."
But Williams, meeting with GM on Thursday, says he won't be satisfied until there's a promise made that the symbol won't be shown.
"Tons of country music musicians have said they don't fly that flag, they don't deal with it anymore, it was wrong, it was ignorant," Williams said. "So why can't Kid Rock do that."