Sevyn Streeter was scheduled to sing the national anthem at the Philadelphia 76ers season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, but says her performance was canceled due to her “We Matter” jersey.
In an interview with The Associated Press late Wednesday, Sevyn said she was told she would not sing, just minutes before her performance.
“I’d say two minutes before we were about to walk out … the organization told me that I could not wear my shirt while singing the national anthem at their game,” the R&B singer said by phone. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”
Sevyn says she was excited about being able to perform the national anthem, and was heartbroken by the NBA team’s actions.
“I was angry, extremely, extremely angry, and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart,” she said. “Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that.”
“I also felt it was important to express the ongoing challenges and ongoing injustice we face as a black community within the United States of America — that’s very important to me,” Sevyn continued. “Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world, but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can’t be ignored.”
The Sixers have since responded with the following statement:
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
According to ESPN, the NBA had no commented.
Photo: Sevyn Streeter – Instagram