Sevyn Streeter was supposed to sing the national anthem for the Philadelphia 76ers’ home opener on Wednesday (Oct. 26), but that performance was nixed just minutes before she was set to go on.
According to the “D4L” singer, the abrupt cancelation stemmed from her “We Matter” jersey.
“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,” Streeter told ESPN. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”
A tearful Sevyn took to social media to reveal the news.
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
The Sixers didn’t offer an explanation for the cancelation, but provided the following statement to ESPN: “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.”
With Sevyn’s performance canceled, the team opted to have one of its dancers replace her for the national anthem performance.
In the end, Streeter said she was saddened by how the events unfolded.
“I was angry, extremely, extremely angry, and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it,” she added. “It broke my heart. Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that.”
TMZ reports that 76ers players are also upset with the way the team handled the situation. An insider said “the organization owes Sevyn an apology and we hope that happens soon.”
The national anthem has been a major point of controversy all year. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has taken a knee while the song is played at all of his games as a protest against police brutality and social injustice. Others, both in football and in other sports, have since joined him in silent protests.
National anthem singers have also kneeled while singing, while others have worn “Black Lives Matter” shirts. While it’s unclear whether Streeter wanted to kneel, her jersey was a nod to the BLM movement.
“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,” explained Streeter. “Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world, but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can’t be ignored.”