Pop Culture

11-year-old 'Got Talent' singer responds to racist slurs after anthem

Noah Graham / Today
Sebastien De La Cruz, 11, sang the National Anthem before the start of Game 3 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Sebastien De La Cruz first gained fame when he wowed the judges and the audience on "America's Got Talent" last season, making it all the way to the semifinals. On Tuesday night, the 11-year-old mariachi singer wowed a very different crowd.

Country star Darius Rucker had to cancel his planned performance of the National Anthem before Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio, and it was De La Cruz who stepped in at the last minute with a pitch-perfect performance of his own.

But while those in attendance cheered on the young singer, some viewers took to Twitter to voice complaints. It's not that they were unhappy with the National Anthem or even how he sang it; they were unhappy with the fact that he sang it at all.

It seems, despite the fact that the announcer introduced De La Cruz as a "San Antonio native," many in the Twitterverse assumed he was from Mexico and insulted the child with a flurry of racist tweets.

(Many of the Twitter accounts involved have either been deleted, suspended or made private since the posts gained attention, but a roundup of some of the tweets can be seen here. Be warned, the tone and language used in many of the messages is particularly harsh.)

He's since gained support from those who were outraged by the racism. Because De La Cruz performed in traditional mariachi dress, some people were encouraging Spurs fans to wear similar attire for Thursday night's game in support of the young singer.

San Antonio mayor Julian Castro learned of the negative comments and responded with a tweet of his own.



It seems De La Cruz is following that advice.

"With the racist remarks, it was just people how they were raised," he recently told KENS 5 News. "My father and my mama told me you should never judge people how they look."

He also took to Twitter with a message of his own.