My Experience At Kid Rock’s Detroit Headline Show As A Liberal Black Woman

A few weekends ago, I had the rare delight of experiencing Kid Rock’s headline show inaugurating Detroit’s Little Caesar’s Stadium. I knew that I was attending the show months in advance – months before his Kid Rock 4 Senate campaign began and even before I found out about his public support of President Trump. I know, sis… still no excuses… just keep reading.

Truth be told, I knew barely anything about the artist besides the fact that he appeared on Run’s House in the early 2000’s (coincidentally wearing an “I Heart Black People” tee – Little Russy’s face says it all) and that my fiance’s family plays some of his tracks at their family gatherings (The Get Out joke has already gotten old).

Clearly I didn’t have too much of an opinion prior to attending the show. It was a free concert, I’d never been to Detroit, and I was going with three people who just so happened to grow up attending the shows.

Then the shit got started.

Videos of Kid Rock’s opening campaign speech (if it could be called that) hit the interwebs and black Twitter officially revoked Mr. Rock’s invitation to the cookout.

My anxiety was at an all time high. I knew that on Saturday night, I’d be sitting through the speech, hearing Kid Rock’s rallying cries against Kaepernick’s decision to kneel whilst concertgoers in red hats cheered him on. I knew that I’d be one of only a few black people listening while the once-poor rockstar denounced “lazy, no good” welfare recipients (let’s be real, we know which lazy, no good recipients his fans were tired of). I also knew that I’m not one to take things lightly – this loud mouth and unwavering confidence is something that’s gotten me into trouble before. I still went.

My issue with going to the show wasn’t even sitting through the mockery of a campaign speech. I couldn’t necessarily be mad at his public political stance because my favorite artist of all time, Kanye West, has had his fair share of problematic messaging both on and off the stage.

But let’s be clear: Black Twitter’s revocation of Kid Rock’s cookout invitation wasn’t because of the simple fact that Kid Rock is clearly more “racial” than we thought. It’s because he built his fame and following through his appreciation and appropriation of black culture (break dancing/DJing/rapping) but then seemingly abandoned the people he claimed to love and support through his current political viewpoints. As a wise man once said, “America loves black culture but hates black people.” No, Kid Rock has never outwardly stated that he hates black people. His die hard fans love to spout the ultimate Kid-Rock-ain’t-racist-fun-fact, “he had a baby with a black woman, he can’t be racist!” The truth of the matter is, Kid Rock supports the conservative programs and agendas that overwhelmingly negatively affect the majority of those in black communities. Even more, whether his campaign speech was a joke or not, it further encourages the bigotry and hate drawn from the ultra-conservative Trump supporters that attend his shows. This makes him a part of the problem.

While we’re on the topic, the show’s fan base was a phenomenon in itself. It was a sea of mostly white people, including just about every socioeconomic class (poor, rich, in between). Picture cowboy boots, MAGA hats, Trump tees and, yes, Kid Rock for Senate tees – but Kid Rock’s opener was a (black) soul group and Kid Rock even included DJ and rap segments as a nod to his upbringing in black, hip-hop culture. Even during these segments, the crowd was engaged and excited. A group that undoubtedly supports racists and bigots – either openly or with their spending dollars and private political votes – was entertained by a Notorious B.I.G track.

Here’s where I’m conflicted.

As much as I’d love to say that I hated the show and wish I hadn’t gone… it was, in fact, entertaining. From the moment Kid Rock hit the stage until the final encore performance, the stadium was booming with fireworks, strippers (yes, you read that correctly), and appearances from B-List celebrities like Uncle Cracker and Beavis and Butthead. I didn’t know a single Kid Rock song, had complete anxiety going into the concert, and still managed to enjoy the majority of the show. Something about Kid Rock’s ability to entertain even the biggest of doubters should re-enforce his ultimate job title: he’s simply an entertainer.

I recognize that humans are naturally complex – everything’s not black and white and clear as day. But I’m also willing to admit that we’re giving Kid Rock way too much credit. Just as we brushed off Kanye’s rant on Saint Pablo Tour as “he’s just being stupid Kanye,” we should also recognize that Kid Rock is doing what he does best: violate the status quo so much so that his stage name is plastered on every news headline. He’s an entertainer who recognizes the demographic of his followers and capitalizes on their viewpoints to make a few dollars on Kid Rock 4 Senate tees and snapbacks. If this stunt had happened, say, four years ago, there would be no Twitter conversation or protests over his shows opening the new Detroit stadium. Frankly, nobody would give a damn. But since the clown that is #NotMyPresident Trump has somehow leveraged his image to gain the presidency, we’re all uneasy about anyone with influence who uses that influence to encourage ultra-racists. If Kid Rock’s speech had been given anywhere else with any other audience, it wouldn’t have been as cringe-worthy. Now that I associate red caps and Trump tees with Nazis and KKK members, I automatically assume that anyone who is encouraging those individuals agrees with their viewpoints. If those individuals are scattered throughout the crowd and cheering for what Future-Senator Rock has to say – I’m immediately uncomfortable and I immediately view the rap star turned rock star as a racist himself.

Maybe that was my our mistake.

Where do we draw the line between crappy political exclamations and pure entertainment? Can this line be evenly drawn?

Find out on next week’s episode of Big World, Little Bria, alternatively pitched to E! as This Girl Had No Business Going To A Kid Rock Show Any Damn Way.

Side note: to make matters worst, I forgot to take photos but there was plenty of Snapchat/Instagram stories footage. Follow me there.

43 Comments

  1. Valentino Senpai

    As a black male I respectfully disagree with majority of what you said. For the most part I agree with what kid rock said, I don’t think taxpayers should be taxed in order for others to have their money (long term not short term). It’s like a big “fuck you” they’re out there grinding for their money while you have some people out here that don’t work get money from these programs but don’t do shit to earn it and don’t even look for a job.

    His statements about mother’s who can’t take of themselves but keep having kids is true, if you’re broke or poor you don’t need to have kids. Kid Rock even said to give single mothers job training, I honestly don’t see what’s wrong with that, it gives them a chance to eat more money. The only real thing I didn’t agree with is the shit about the flag because I think both sides are stupid.

    Now you seem like you assumed that his comments were racial when there’s a good chance he was speaking about everyone that does it, not everything has some hidden message or agenda. You also said there’s no reason to support Trump I believe, first off let me say that I don’t like Trump but there’s some things where I agree with him. Not everyone who supports Trump is a racist and while he’s said stupid shit he hasn’t said anything racist his comments about islam aren’t based on criticizing the race but rather tge ideology it’s self. Saying all Trump supporters are racist because some are is like saying every BLM supporter wants all whites dead because some extremists in the group want that.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Bria

      Thank you so much for commenting! I honestly appreciate you bringing a fresh perspective to the piece as a black male with conservative views.

      I don’t think there’s any reason for me to offer a rebuttal on your comment, since we clearly disagree on a fundamental level. One thing I will note is the racial undertone to Kid Rock’s opening speech. No, he didn’t outwardly state anything about people of color, but the viewpoints that he expressed (and that you seemingly agree with based on your comment) have historically disadvantaged poor people of color. Purposefully. Most people who support these initiatives are ignorant to the agendas that put them in place. If you’re interested in a history lesson, please let me know. I’ll gladly share some articles of information with you.

      Again, thank you for commenting! I started this blog for dialogue so I appreciate you sharing your viewpoints.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Valentino Senpai

        No problem, I tend to try to bring in a different perspective, however I do have to correct you if on two things. The first is that I’m not conservative, there’s a small amount of things that I agree with when it comes to conservative ideologies but nonetheless my views are center left meaning that I’m still liberal. The second is about us disagreeing on a fundamental level, I’d say that’s a stretch in some capacity.

        In the past there’s been laws that have been that have held us back but it’s an even playing field now (actually we have a slight advantage) if anything it’s been welfare programs and our own people holding us back. Instead of many of us putting in the work, time, and effort many would rather sit back and blame it on white, asians, latinos, etc and claim they’re being oppressed like it’s 1950 while another one of us does what’s needed and they get jealous of us. I know the history and how some laws have prevented our people from things, I know about the old black wall street and how it doesn’t exist anymore and I can see the difference between our people then and the shit many of us do now.

        And can you do me a favor and please elaborate on how what kid rock said has an agenda behind it and how it negatively impact our community. Because to me getting single mothers especially younger ones help with child care and job training is good, dealing with these deadbeat fathers (which hits close to home for me) is good, dealing with people who aren’t even attempting to work is a positive.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. taylorkole

        You’re boring, racially obsessed, color has nothing to do with people. Stop perpetuating racism. 90% if Trump voters are beautiful people. Kid Rock only stated facts. You interpret (then promote) them as racist. #partoftheproblem

        Like

    2. DivaNamedDom

      With all due respect Valentino, it is easy to swallow the black american’s current state of being as our own without looking truly at how we got here. We have been historically sanctioned away from taking full advantage of the American Dream. I recommend reading, “We Were Eight Years In Power,” by T. Coates. He’s able to explain chronologically, more thoroughly and more eloquently than I can within this post. I do hope you take a moment to expand your horizon and see how racism didn’t start with us and yet, it’s supposed to somehow end with us.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Valentino Senpai

        I understand how we got to this point. I know about how successful the black community was, my problem is that it’s a leveles playing field as most people don’t give a damn about skin color yet people want forced equal outcome I even say the same thing about feminists. I have a problem with the fact that many of our people don’t push education, owning a business, or just anything like that as if there’s almost no other options. I have a problem with the niggas that shit on black women solely because they’re a black female. I have a problem with those of us who bitch and moan about the lack of black authors, artist, etc but don’t want to support them at all. I have a problem with those who bitch about the lack of diverse black characters but then pull a 180 when the character doesn’t fit this ideal mold of what a black person is like. I have a problem with the guys that say nigga is the same thing as n*gger yet continue to use it (we ain’t got Hispanics calling each other wetbacks). I got a problem with the part of the community that complains but doesn’t take a step to try and fix the situation.

        I’ll look into the book as I’m not a close minded person like a Tariq Nasheed or Richard Spencer. If it has sufficient evidence it can sway my opinion but I doubt it will have enough. Also who thinks racism started with us, realistically we don’t know who started it. It would be best for it to end with us (stopping racism) but there’s always going a sect of humanity that has hate, it could be over something as small as race or facial features.

        Like

      2. DivaNamedDom

        I’m not sure where your narrative of ultimate blackness derived from? Black women are the most educated minority group. Black businesses don’t often thrive past conception because we don’t have the same access to seed funds as our white counterparts. There is historical, factual evidence and laws to support this claim. Not everyone is sitting back waiting to collect a welfare check and having babies for shits and giggles. As a matter of fact, black birth rates are down. Could it be that there are more operation Flints that are making us infertile or maybe we are so against the status quo of making babies and not being able to fully support them? Maybe as a whole we realize the generational untreated PTSD; and because the millennial generation is the most educated, we’re slowing down and analyzing more instead of simply digesting the rhetoric that white people created about us? I do hope you read the book I suggested by a black author. I hope that it expands your mind to more possibilities about black culture and blackness in general (they’re not mutually exclusive although white people treat them as such). Best, Dom.

        Like

      3. Valentino Senpai

        I have no narrative of “Ultimate Blackness” I stated my problems with certain individuals or rather certain things people in our community do/think. Technically our women aren’t the most educated group, the data sites like the Root, Salon, Independent, etc were using only applied for the 2013-14 academic year. While it’s still good as our were getting the most degrees the things the sites were saying was about as false as saying the Cleveland Browns won the Super Bowl.

        That small fact about business is pretty much true for majority of business, my point was that when there’s a good one many of our people turn a blind eye to it. Please give me examples in the modern day where it’s been proven that an institution denied someone a loan or something like that to start a business because the company itself (not the individual worker) has a problem with us.

        Never said we were all waiting for welfare checks, fucking our lives away and popping out kids. It’s good the birth rate is down depending on how you look at it. I doubt there’s a bunch of Flint type situations going on because uh you know “fuck black people”, more likely it’s because people are getting more educated having good careers, specifically the women, therefore people are putting off having kids to continue their career.

        I’ve rarely seen white people equate black culture with blackness unless their this social justice warrior type (those types are lowkey racist), 90% of the time it’s the far pro blacks & them Hotep niggas/BMGTOW/IBMOR. They always see race and if you don’t fit into this ideal version of a black person you get treated like shit. It’s even worse if you’re a black male, if you like anything that’s seen as a white people thing then you’re a coon in their eyes and all of a sudden you hate Black women, the fact that you’re black, and so on. I’m not even gonna get started on the ones that shit on anyone that likes something perceived as “black”. Personally I think it’s dumb to say that for a black person to be black they have to like so much shit about black culture (not African culture as they’re a bit different) the same “cultural appropriation” thing is bs when the person has a genuine interest in it and respects the culture.

        Like

  2. Uncle Bucky

    As a white dj who loves black culture, I have never known how to take Kid Rock, he’s never appealed to me in any way on anything I’ve ever seen him on. I heard somewhere that he was very connected to black culture early on before the “fame” or whatever. You made this story interesting and gave him a fair chance, which I probably wouldn’t have done. Thanks for making it interesting and providing cool insight into his show.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Bria

      Thank you for commenting – appreciate your perspective! Kid Rock has strong ties to the black community. He even mentioned some of those ties in a segment of the show. It’s interesting to me because he doesn’t seem to show much respect for the group of people that helped him get his start.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nycke the Poet

    Glad I read this. Honestly I agree with u on feeling if they support Cult45 (cuz I feel he’s a cult leader, sorry but not really sorry), I feel they are a racist. It’s good to read your experience from attending this event and things that happened there. It always amazes me how our culture and contributions are so much appreciated but we as black people aren’t when we speak up. The crazy part is, there’s more closet racists out here now empowered. It really makes it hard not to view many as racists.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. indysligo

    I am not familiar with Kid Rock’s music or his politics.Yes, I’ve heard the news and know that he’s running for a senate seat. He’s not in my state, so I don’t have any say in the matter.

    What I bring up is the fact that I, as a conservative (libertarian) white guy, enjoy going to concerts, even though I’m subjected to the more common liberal perspective among performers. While I disagree with their politics, and would prefer they kept their opinions out of their shows, I also understand the two are nearly inseparable. Their songs express their views as much, if not more, than their words.

    Yet, I still enjoy their performances, and I still pay to go see them.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. eat.exercise.exhale

    I feel you on this, I went to Joan Jett and Stevie Nix last year right around the time Trump was set to win. Even though we are in a progressive city (Boston) it was a bit nervewracking. I had a great time, with my gal pals and managed to have a mostly drama-free evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. NotMuchToTellBlog

    I read this knowing next to nothing about Kid Rock because it popped up on my Discover page and looked like an interesting read… and it was! I’m Chinese-American, so obviously I can’t understand the same kind of racism that black people face, but I can resonate with what you said on this post. I’m not the most vocal person for sure, which is something I’m not proud of, but the advantage of sitting back sometimes is that I can catch when people are knowledgeable and fighting for what they believe, versus when they are riding the mass-opinion train (I.e. demonizing certain public figures for being offensive). And I wouldn’t necessarily defend those people, but I like to keep in mind that that doesn’t make them *all* bad. Like you said, people aren’t all black and white, no pun intended.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. NotMuchToTellBlog

      Also—I follow some Chinese and Korean entertainers. It’s definitely partly a cultural thing, but people are far more brutal with what they think, and the audience is typically much less sensitive. I think maybe because I watch interviews and talk shows, I might just be more… not accepting of, but used to, that kind of “persona”?

      Like

  7. Sasha R

    You think he’s capitalizing on said climate bc he realizes any publicity is good publicity? Or is he doing like his boyfriend, Trump, and waving the left hand in front of your face to distract from what the right hand is doing? Although, don’t know what significance Kid Rock has on the grand scheme…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. planestrainsandrvs

    I think Kid Rock loves publicity, and that’s what his senate run has gotten him. I do love him as an artist, but in general, I prefer when entertainers just entertain us and keep politics out of their acts.

    Music and sporting events are supposed to provide us an escape from our day-to-day lives after all.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. twobytour

    I’ve never been able to reconcile the Confederate imagery and redneck culture with the co-opting of black culture. I think his music is garbage, and even if he has anything reasonable to truly say, it’s wrapped up in like a racecar at Daytona with pure trash, whether it’s entertainment or not. Good on you for investigating. This was a great read.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Ed Boner

    Quite the read, but I don’t see any art form as property of a culture and Kid Rock’s political party does not necessarily mean anything or have a relationship to his view of race. Seems like our society is developing a tendency to seek racism or look for racism where there is often no intent at all.

    It is nice to hear you enjoyed the show, but I think you might be painting with a broad brush.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. fancypantsmdma

    I enjoyed reading your post. I offer no apologies for our president, only regret that his opposition was Hilary.
    I’m not a Trump supporter. At all. I am tired of the stereo-typing of whites, blacks, Muslim, Christians etc. I grew up in Montana. I didn’t differentiate color until I moved to Seattle at 19 years old. I wish I can completely unlearn what I learned there. I still hear the old tapes play in the background of my mind every once in awhile. I’m of the opinion judge The Man by his deeds, his core beliefs, his moral integrity.
    I appreciate your outlook and your writing style. And I will definitely follow your blog. Have a blessed holiday season.

    Like

  12. Melissa Barlow (@mcbarlow36)

    I’m a white, middle-class woman, and I used to love Kid Rock. I bought all his music and saw him in concert three times. However, it was his trophy hunting, combined with his conservative politics, that finally drove me away as a fan. You’re right though: he does put on a great show!

    Like

  13. missflatlander

    I am very intrigued by your position and willingness to attend this show. I have been a die-hard KR fan, traveling to see his shows out of town, paying exorbitant scalper ticket prices, arranging road trips to coincide with concert dates, and the acceptance of the inauguration concert invitation was the end of the line. I dumped my CD collection in the trash, deleted him from my I-tunes account, and mourned another rich white guy showing his true colors: racist, misogynist, selfish, self-centered Republican. He and Ted Nugent can offer all the free tickets they want, I’ll never be caught dead at a KR concert. He can choke on his big fat-daddy cigar.

    Like

  14. Heathcliff

    I saw Kid Rock myself, probably close to ten years ago, as the opener at a Bon Jovi show. I knew a couple songs, but wasn’t (and still am not) a big fan or anything. That said: I was absolutely amazed by the show that he put on. You absolutely hit the nail on the head when you referred to his ultimate job title: entertainer. The show was nuts, the crowd was on it’s feet, and his energy was absolutely contagious.

    Having said all of that, I always feel a bit dirty any time I hear his music. I don’t know if he believes his insane, angry, racist rants or if he just goes on them for the sake of firing up his fanbase; but is either one of those actually more or less reprehensible than the other? At the very least, he’s given me incredibly little reason to believe that he bears any of the traits that I believe make a decent human being, and I have no intention of ever attending a show of his again. Honestly, with that fan base, I’m not entirely sure I’d even make it out of one of his shows alive.

    I’m a passionate music fan, I’ve been to more concerts than I can count, and I think music and art are sacred. However, I can’t bring myself to support someone like Kid Rock. He’s either an actual racist, or he’s a person who says a lot of racist things (these two options are equivalent in my book), and I can’t support that.

    Like

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