An 11-year-old from Texas nicknamed “El Charro de Oro,” which means The Golden Mariachi, kicked off game three of the NBA finals with the national anthem earlier this week. But it’s not his voice that’s getting him noticed, it’s tweets regarding his race — some of them strong racial slurs — and the boy’s response to them that’s getting attention.
Sebastien De La Cruz, who made it to the finals on season seven of the show America’s Got Talent, was born in San Antonio, but after his performance Tuesday night, some said his singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” was “un-American” because “he’s probably illegal.”
Here’s De La Cruz’s performance if you missed it:
The “public shaming” section on the site Tumblr has recorded some of the tweets against the boy that followed:
Since these tweets and others were posted, De La Cruz has received an even more intense but opposite reaction — a show of support for his performance — on Twitter.
The next day, the De La Cruz appeared on local television and radio shows to give his reaction to the criticism he had received.
Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo, a radio host for The 950- Houston, WOAI- San Antonio, KOA/Denver and nationwide for Glenn Beck and “The Weekend,” brought on De La Cruz. The interview delves into De La Cruz’s young career and his personality, but right as Pags is about to wrap up, the boy asks “may I please say one more thing?”
“I just am just saying for the people who did write the bad things about me, I would just like to tell them that I respect what they said, because I think in the United States people should have freedom of speech and that’s their opinion. But the thing that I don’t really like about it is that they don’t know that I am Mexican American,” De La Cruz said. “And that my father was in the Navy for many years and that I’m a proud American living the American dream.”
Listen to the interview on Pags’ show:
De La Cruz also sat down with KABB where he 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.”
Watch this clip of the interview:
Check out De La Cruz on this segment of America’s Got Talent:
This story has been updated to include more information.