On Tuesday, 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz belted out a stirring rendition of the national anthem at the NBA Finals in San Antonio, Texas, only to be subjected to a sortie of racist attacks on Twitter. Though De La Cruz is San Antonio born and raised, many viewers simply could not comprehend that a brown-skinned kid in a mariachi outfit might be anything other than “Mexican.”
Twitter looked a lot like this Tuesday night, repeated ad nauseam:
Could this national anthem possibly get any more stereotypical? Might as well throw a sombrero on him too.
— Some Random (@shawnintheflesh) June 12, 2013
Like his “golden voice,” De La Cruz’s response to the haters is surprisingly mature.
Update: De La Cruz is coming back for an encore. You’ll hear him again Thursday night for Game 4.
In an interview with a local news station, De La Cruz—whose father is a Navy veteran—brushed off the attacks with grace and humility.
“I knew that one day when I sing that people were going to judge me,” he said. “That’s why over the time I’ve grown, I’ve learned that you don’t really care what people say about you, it’s what you think about yourself.”
Now take a moment to watch his performance from Tuesday. The kid nailed it:
Correction: Sebastien De La Cruz is 11 years old, not 10, as previously reported. We regret the error.