The Hello Bar is a simple web toolbar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

Advertise on Detroit Moxie

Search Detroit Moxie
Connect with me

Get your Detroit Moxie gear!


Most Recent

« Detroit Moxie's Weekend Roundup | Main | Detroit Moxie teams up with Groupon »

Oh Romeo, Kid Rock loves Detroit

Kid Rock, with his hat pulled down over his ears, sat on a simple stool at the American Music Awards and sang a love letter to Detroit with his song “Times Like These.” The song talks about our struggles and our dedication to this city.

Kid Rock talks about his new album, Born Free, on his website:

“The catalyst for this record was Detroit, and my thoughts on the world through the lens of Detroit. Watching everything go downhill over the past few years, the economy, the loss of jobs everywhere, I wanted to make a record that reflected the times but that still had soul."

The images projected on the screens behind him drilled the point home for us locals. Our Spirit of Detroit, the Joe Louis Fist, and the "Welcome to Michigan" sign were all featured prominently on the national stage.

I got goose bumps while watching, and from the look of my Twitter feed, I wasn’t the only one. Maybe, just maybe, people from around the country took notice of those images.

I also saw a few ‘Negative Nellies’ that wanted it made loud and clear that the Kid isn’t from Detroit. Yes, he grew up in Romeo and lives out in the suburbs. But, really? Does that matter?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name…

Kid Rock, and our other hometown boy Eminem, wear their love of Detroit on their shirtsleeves. That’s enough for me. They don’t deny where they are from but shout to the world that this city of ours has a lot to offer.

If Kid Rock sang about Romeo the ‘Negative Nellies’ would complain that he was turning his back on Detroit. And the rest of the world wouldn’t know what the heck he was talking about.

If you didn’t get a chance to see him on the AMA’s watch the video and let me know what you think.


Stay tuned to Detroit Moxie later in the week for more Kid Rock. I have an amazing opportunity on Wednesday to get a sneak peek of his halftime show for the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game. The United Way for Southeastern Michigan is thanking its Super volunteers & advocates with this special treat and they invited me along. I might just get to meet him too!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (14)

Yep - to me it does matter.

It bothers me because I would like to see some Detroit Artists, (even Businesspeople, etc) send back the same love letter to the City, as people who use the City as a marker, a point of reference but choose to live not in the City. It’s a bit like standing on the other side of a fence and shouting "Hang in there, it'll get better", but not really sticking around to see how it all turns out – much less actually offering a hand. It’s very passive. Very.

And I‘m not impressed.

Yes, Kid Rock cut his chops in the City, much like Eminem, but where are the born and bred Detroiters, those that still live and work and raise their families there. Where are those artists on the National Stage, willing to stand up and proudly proclaim "This is my home, this is my City, and I love her"? Not even the Queen of Soul lives in Detroit, nor a Supreme.


Right now it seems so fashionable to say "I'm from Detroit", like when Eddie Murphy made Mumford popular by wearing a t-shirt, even though your average fan couldn't tell you Mumford was a Detroit high school (for the record, I took drivers' ed there on its course many, many moons ago).

I don't want Detroit to become a fashionable charity (like Haiti) that everyone claims to have lived in or has a relation residing, only to fall victim to the next fashionable crisis in a few months.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMontiLee

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. I appreciate it.

On a national level, the names Kid Rock and Eminem are synonymous with Detroit. People on either coast don't say, "Kid Rock from Romeo, Michigan."

I've been very open about being from the suburbs. Does that make my love of Detroit worth less than someone who lives in the city? My dad was born and raised in Detroit and went to Pershing and Cass Tech, does that mean he loves the city more than me?

And what about Toby Barlow, Phil Cooley, Jerry Paffendorf, Mary Lorene Carter, and the countless others who aren't originally from Detroit but are currently living in the city and doing great things? Do they get an asterisk next to their name because they weren't born and bred in the city proper?

I agree that we need more people who live in the city or are passionate about it to declare their devotion, if you will. If it's organic and real. But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this Detroit vs. The Suburbs debate is one of the reasons our region isn't succeeding.

I wish I had the answers on how to fix it. But, I don't.

November 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Thanks Becks. I agree completely. I grew up in the suburbs too and live in the city today. Let me tell you all, there is not much difference. Maybe I am a little bit more security-conscious today, but that would likely be the case no matter where I lived. Growing up will do that to you. When I went away to college 20 years ago and people asked me where I was from I did not say Royal Oak. I said Detroit. East coasters looked at me as though I might be packing heat. I have to admit, I got a kick out of that. Same scenario when Kevin and I have traveled during the last 10 years. To my mind the suburbs and the city ARE one. They are symbiotic. My only suggestion for a solution is abolish the names of all the suburbs and call it all Detroit!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Doherty

Great post, Becks. I agree, it doesn't matter whether he lives in the city limits or not. For this city to continue to rebuild itself, it's going to take every one...not just the city residents but also the metro Detroiters that live close enough to frequent the city often. To travel to the city to shop. To eat. To hang. And, I'm with you, it was a goose bump raising performance. Have fun this week...excited to hear and read about your special treat.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Frank

I like a good debate.

It isn't

To me, (and I lived in the City until about 20 years ago, when I had to find a job and housing where the insurance wouldn't break me) Detroit seems like in of those Cities that could stand to learn how to be Her own advocate. My Dad was a Homicide cop at #12, and remained a cop for 26 years. We lived in Sherwood Forest, attended Gesu, Hampton, Mumford, Renaissance. It broke my heart to leave.

Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled to see people stepping up for Her, but when will she learn to step up for herself? I want more people to move back - I'd love to move back, but Detroit is still a town of opposites - the people that can afford to live there, and the people who can't afford to leave. I want to move back, but the places that are safe I can't afford, and the places I can afford aren't safe.

It's like Detroit used to be one of the strong women we all grew up with - fierce, independent, awesome, but something happened and She stopped caring for Herself, and needs a nurse to help Her around - even though you can see in Her eyes She's just too afraid to straighten Her back and stand tall - maybe fearing another beat down.

I dunno - it's frustrating to see everyone coming to Her aid when you can see the City can fight Her own battles but has gotten used to others fighting them for Her. I miss hearing the City Roar.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMontiLee

Ignore that "it isn't".

Because it *is* a good debate, a great conversation even, I just lack the foresight to self-edit *all* the time.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMontiLee

No worries! But thanks for the follow up, now I have a better understanding of where you are coming from.

I, like many people, am not in a position to move anywhere right now. We still own a home in the UK and we are stuck until it's sold. However, even when we're ready, I'm not sure that we'll move into the city. As you mention, people want an affordable place that is safe. Throw in reliable city services, education, etc and moving to Detroit becomes a big decision.

I wish Detroit was stronger, I wish she didn't need help or cheerleaders. Currently, that isn't the case. The strong, fierce woman that you remember is going to need a lot of support to get her back to her former glory.

Those of us that love her want to see that happen more than anything.

Thanks for offering your perspective. I, too, ran into many people around the globe who would literally gasp when Detroit was mentioned.

You bring up some great points. There are many of us who spend a lot of time and money in Detroit. That isn't going to solve all of our problems but surely it's better than downtown becoming a ghost town. Because, it certainly isn't. I'll keep you all filled in on my adventures!

November 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis


You know me, I love your blog and I love this post. I do also completely understand the frustration of those who have lived and toughed it out in the city of Detroit.

I am weak, I did not tough it out. An opportunity was presented to me to move to Tokyo with my company and work at our HQ and I took it. If an opportunity presented itself in Detroit, I would still be there today.

I love the city of Detroit. I want to come back some day. If life deals me that card, I'll take it.

However, while I am away from Detroit. I will promote the city and correct those that would put the city down because they do not know what they are talking about.

I'm originally from Toledo. I've lived in Westland, Farmington Hills, and White Lake. I still call Detroit home and promote all of the great things about the city.

For those that would say I have no place for doing so, so be it. I'll promote the city of Detroit while it's kicking and screaming for me to shut up because I never lived under 8 mile or east of Telegraph.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark Williams

You are not weak! You were presented with an amazing opportunity and have built a wonderful life for you and your family in Japan.

One of the things that I love about your story is that you're from Toledo yet a huge proponent of Detroit. That speaks volumes.

And, as a former expat myself, we need people like you to set the world straight on life in Detroit. Keep doing what you're doing!

November 23, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis


Great post, I'm born and raise in the suburbs but Detroit IS MY HOME! When I'm old enough, out of school and can afford to have my own place in the city I will live there, but until then I'll shout my Detroit pride from the rooftops of East Lansing and elsewhere.

I honestly dont think it matters where one technically lives....anyone who is willing to stand up for the city and show it in a positive light to the rest of the world the way Kid Rock, you and others have done is a winner in my book.

Its just that whole city vs suburb mentality that has got to stop! We're ALL DETROITERS whether were from Sterling Heights or Gross Pointe or any place in between.

Keep it up Becks! I hope you get a chance to meet Kid, and I can't wait to hear how the sneak peek goes.

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

There is a small amount of irony in an Eminem lyric that he disses ICP over, but could just as easily be applied to Kid Rock:

'Claimin Detroit, when y'all live 20 miles away"

It is good that Kid Rock 'cares' about Detroit. It is good that he promotes the city. Who do you think he does it for though? I don't think he 'claims Detroit' for any reason other than his own personal gain. Where dies the line get drawn between promotion and exploitation?

I have to take issue with the four names you brought up as people that are 'making a difference' in Detroit. As much as some of those people really are doing great things, some of them seem to be slapping themselves on the back a bit much for my taste. I know that's probably blasphemous to a few people, and I don't mean to be, but I may end up saying one more thing a bit more controversial, such as 'how come all the 'difference-makers' that are highlighted in the media are the white folks? Detroit is 85% black, but 85% of the people featured are white. It doesn't just go with the people featured, either..

All the places to show where Detroit is 'coming back' in the media, are the same 5-6 neighborhoods. Detroit is more than Woodbridge, Midtown, Downtown, Eastern Market, and Corktown. My roommate was telling me the other day, he is sick of people saying Detroit is like a 'big small town.' He hates it because people who are saying that aren't leaving those 5-6 neighborhoods. If you're an African American in Detroit, I would be willing to bet it seems a helluva lot bigger.

Lastly, another comment slightlly disturbed me. (Sorry Steve) This idea that we should be happy to have people coming down to 'spend their money,' as if it's some kind of community service. Nobody wants to be portrayed as some kind of 'charity case.' Yes, be a cheerleader. When you come down to the D to spend money, you're doing it because there is noplace you would rather be, instead of "I'm doing a good thing for others."

We're not 'all Detroiters.' I'm sorry, but that's like me going to CMU and then saying "But we're ALL WOLVERINES." We're just not. People appreciate the love.

I'm sorry if this rocked any boats. I haven't lived there that long. I just relate more to this side of the story. Becks, you do a GREAT job at doing what you do, and I love following your blog. You asked 'does it matter?' To some people, it does.

November 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToka313

It doesn't matter if you don't live in Detroit. The whole of America is feeling the recession and Kid Rock made an ode to it that's why some of his songs are fast becoming anthems like this one, Times Like These. Even now that we're starting to get back on our feet again we do need some encouragement from our artists. Getting sentimental is good entertainment too, ya know.

November 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCity Kid

Thank you for your honesty. As usual, you raise some very important points.

The four people that I mentioned are on my personal radar, meaning that they are either people who I've met and supported or people that I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with and pick their brain. While writing this, I thought the same thing. Why are the people I'm mentioning all white? Should I balance it out? But this wasn't a researched post, it was just my thoughts at the time and those people immediately popped into my head.

Your comments always add another level to the conversation and push me to be a better writer, blogger, and person. For that, I thank you. And, I hope you keep coming back to share your point of view.

November 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

City or suburbs, it doesn't matter. I love Detroit so much, even though I no longer live there and Go Detroit Lions!!!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikel

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>