The opening show of Kid Rock's current five-night Detroit concert series kicked off with some attendees having to walk past protesters chanting "shame," to gain entry into the new Little Caesars Arena on Woodward Avenue on Tuesday, September 13. The dozens-deep cadre of demonstrators roamed the vicinity with a megaphone and signs, and got into disputes and shouting matches with fans of the veteran rap-rocker, some of whom wore 'Make America Great Again' paraphernalia. But the party of picketers was a small fraction that splintered off from a larger protest that the National Action Network held within proximity of the venue.
Detroit police would break up several altercations as they followed the group, but no arrests were made. A significant mass of counter protesters showed up on motorcycles as well. They revved up their engines in an effort to drown out the Rev. Charles Williams II led demonstration. Some would even get off of their bikes and roam the area claiming to protect citizens. “We want to make sure they understand that police brutality in America is real. Racial profiling in America is real. And taking our tax dollars to hire someone who promotes hate needs to stop,” Williams told the 500 or so protesters who came out to denounce the venue's hosting of Rock as its inaugural act.
Leading up to the rally, the N.A.N. had warned Little Caesar's Arena that it would take to the streets as a means of reminding locals of Kid Rock's history of divisive political rhetoric that some point to his embracing of the Confederate flag to underscore as racist. Rock has continually maintained that he loves Black people and is being targeted in a smear campaign, particularly since announcing his intentions to run for the Senate. Last week he blasted his opposition during a campaign style speech that he delivered in spoken word before a Grand Rapids audience. On Tuesday, he once again antagonized his critics, saying "If anyone wants to protest tonight, tell them they can protest these nuts."