DETROIT (WWJ) — In an ongoing effort to remove the Confederate Flag from the public eye, Rev. Charles Williams II and the National Action Network’s Michigan Chapter are speaking out against two of the Motor City’s biggest icons.
Williams, president of the Michigan Chapter of the NAN, says that General Motors needs to rethink its sponsorship of entertainer Kid Rock’s summer tour because he refuses to denounce the Confederate Flag, an image he has used frequently throughout his career in shows and music videos.
Williams led a protest outside of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit on Friday and told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis that he thinks the Confederate symbol should be abolished everywhere.
“I think that this flag really has no place in the public square anymore,” Williams said. “I think that within the entertainment industry, Kid Rock should definitely take leadership and dismiss this flag from his show.”
Kid Rock has not issued a formal statement, but reportedly said in a network TV interview that protesters could “kiss his —.”
In an official statement, General Motors stood by its endorsement, saying “we are committed to our sponsorship of Kid Rock’s summer tour and are confident that he will provide his fans, many of whom are proud Chevrolet owners, with a spectacular concert experience that celebrates American Freedom.”
“This type of attitude and this type of promotion of symbols of hate — or even hate speech — just have no more place, whether it’s entertainment or whether it’s in the public square,” Williams said. “We believe that Kid Rock really should have done the right thing and he really should do the right thing, and if he doesn’t, General Motors needs to take action fast.”
Williams said that he plans to sit down with officials at General Motors and discuss why, he thinks, they should not want their company’s branding connected to such an endorsement.
“This is a moment that Kid Rock — who is an entertainer — could take the opportunity to show some leadership,” Williams said. “However, he decided to — in our opinion — back up into a place of ignorance and continue promoting that flag.”
Other protests could be planned to take place outside of the Renaissance Center, Williams said, if General Motors chooses to continue its sponsorship.
“In order for them (General Motors) to be what we consider to be a good corporate citizen, they shouldn’t take dollars from folks like myself or other African-Americans who look at this flag as a hate symbol and send them to Kid Rock to sponsor his concerts,” Williams said.
Williams said that he believes that there could be national outcry among other civil rights groups if nothing is changed.
“This needs to stop, this needs to stop now, and they need to back out of it,” Williams said.
Kid Rock is scheduled to play 10 shows at DTE Energy Music Theatre between August 7 and 22.