Donning mariachi outfit, Sebastien De La Cruz stood in front of the crowd at the San Antonio's AT&T on Tuesday, June 11, to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner". However, Sebastien's flawless performance sparked negative reactions. NBA fans who watched the game between San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat from their televisions posted racist hate tweets addressed to the 11-year-old singer.
"Why is a foreigner singing the national anthem. I realize that's San Antonio but that still ain't Mexico," a Twitter user said. Another hate tweet coming from a different user read, "How you singing the national anthem looking like an illegal immigrant?"
Coming to Sebastien's defense is San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. He tweeted on Thursday, June 13, "Sebastien de la Cruz, your rendition of the national anthem was spectacular! Don't let a few negative voices get you down."
Actress Eva Longoria also supported Sebastien, tweeting, "As a Mexican-American, I am so proud of Sebastien De La Cruz, a great symbol of what America is today!"
Sebastien was at the game to replace Darius Rucker, who canceled his scheduled performance at the last minute. Responding to the hate tweets, the former "America's Got Talent" contestant said, "With the racist remarks, it was just people -how they were raised. My father and my mama told me you should never judge people by how they look."
Despite being born to Mexican-American parents, Sebastien insisted that he's a proud American. "My father was actually in the [U.S.] Navy for a really long time," the fifth-grader said. "People don't know; they just assume that I'm just Mexican. But I'm not from Mexico. I'm from San Antonio, born and raised, a true San Antonio Spurs fan."