AUSTIN, Texas -- Kid Rock is opting not to get drawn into – or at least comment on – the controversy surrounding his upcoming NAACP honor.
With the Detroit chapter of the organization planning to honor Rock on May 1 at its annual Freedom Fund dinner for his contributions to the city, some are protesting because of his use of the Confederate flag in his live shows, videos and other imagery. The local branch has not backed away from giving Rock the award, and during a brief stop at the South By Southwest Music + Media conference on Friday, March 18, Rock chose to focus on the positive aspects of the honor.
“I don’t do things for awards and never have,” the Clarkston resident explained. “But I do care about my neighbors and I do care what they think about me in my neighborhood…So to have someone say, ‘We appreciate you doing good things down here and trying to do good things,’ I appreciate that.”
Rock has steadfastly deflected criticism of his use of the flag, saying in 2003 that, “I’m no racist or bigot. Just look at my band and the diversity in it. To me (the flag) is a symbol of Southern rock and of a renegade spirit. That’s what I associate when I see it. But some people disagree, I guess.”
Rock recently finished the first leg of his tour to support his latest album, “Born Free.” This week he’ll be in Washington D.C. for a Kennedy Center event honoring the surviving U.S. presidents, while the video for “Collide” – a duet with Sheryl Crow that’s the second single from the album – is slated to debut Thursday, March 24. Rock launches his annual Chillin’ The Most Cruise on April 7 from New Orleans and resumes touring April 12 in Memphis.
Rock will also kick off a summer tour on July 1, with rumors that Crow will be joining him for the jaunt. Rock promised that “we’ll do something special for Detroit, but we haven’t decided what that’ll be yet.”