Legendary Kiss member Gene Simmons recently spoke out about how he continues to observe racist attitudes thriving throughout the United States, openly proclaiming that “racism has got to stop”. He also recalled his time dating Motown sensation Diana Ross, for examples of the hypocrisy that still thrives in American culture.
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In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Glam pioneer Gene Simmons discussed how racist attitudes continue to plague America, insinuating that there has been less progress made than people realise from the Martin Luther King era.
“Yes, [America is] racist. Yes, it’s anti-semitic.” he proclaims. “People think of Martin Luther King, making great advancements for African Americans and just kind of smashing the door open to deal with it, and you’ve got to deal with this thing. We’ve got to get along and stop treating African Americans, especially, so horribly in America.”
Simmons continues to discuss an anecdote of his experience of racism across the United States, referring to his time dating the vocalist for The Supremes. “When I was with Diana Ross, I’d hear what it was like growing up, she came from the projects of Detroit.”
He recalled the contradictory attitudes he saw held towards African American celebrities at the time, discussing the two extreme reactions the public had towards his partner.
“There was a tour with The Supremes headlining, Dave Clark Five opening and they went through the South in a bus. They got to Alabama, someplace, and people are cheering, everybody’s going crazy,” he notes. “The Supremes get onstage and everybody starts dancing in the streets – Where Did Our Love Go and all that stuff. But at the end of the show, shamefully, The Supremes had to go to what was called a ‘Coloured’ hotel. And on the way out, on the bus, there were bullet holes in the bus.”
The musician goes on to discuss how these hypocritic mentalities still run rampant through American culture, insisting that “there are no limits”.
“You can have an African American president, you can also have the alternate – a semi-racist, semi-extremist president – but anything’s possible,” he says. Although openly condemning the racist attitudes that continue to stand so prominently throughout the country, the bassist still declares that he will always “worship the idea of America”, concluding that there is hope for the future: “it can get better and it will get better.”