DETROIT (AP) -- People critical of the NAACP's decision to honor Kid Rock at its annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner burned a Confederate flag Sunday afternoon in front of the event's downtown Detroit venue.
The Grammy-nominated artist has displayed the flag during some stage performances.
The Macomb County, Mich., native whose real name is Robert Ritchie was to receive the civil rights organization's Great Expectations Award on Sunday night.
Detroit NAACP President Wendell Anthony has said Ritchie was being honored for his advocacy of the city.
"We're not lifting up the flag," Anthony said earlier Sunday. "We're lifting up a gentleman who has worked very hard to be a booster for Detroit."
From the time it was first announced, the choice of Kid Rock as honoree has been criticized by some who said the use of the Confederate conflicts with the NAACP's message.
"It stands for hatred, bigotry, racism, murder," said protest organizer Mongo. "Every bigot and racist in this country loves that flag."
About 60 people took part in the demonstration outside Cobo Center, where about 10,000 people were expected to gather for the dinner. Some carried signs that said, "No to Kid Rock."
Mongo helped ignite the flag about 5 p.m. It took several attempts with a cigarette lighter before the flag caught fire to chants of, "Burn, baby, burn."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)