R&B singer Sevyn Streeter was slated to sing the National Anthem at the Philadelphia 76ers game Wednesday night, but she was pulled over a wardrobe issue.
The singer was wearing a shirt that said “We Matter” on it, a clear reference to the Black Lives Matter movement.
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
“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. I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe,” Streeter said.
76ers’ Dancer Jemila performed the National Anthem in Streeter’s place.
The basketball team released a statement about the incident, but did not clarify their decision.
“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.”
The National Anthem has been a hot button issued ever since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit down while it was being performed at a preseason game as an act of protest against social and racial injustices.
Since then, other players have joined him, high school teams have followed his suit of lead, and even a singer kneeled during her performance, in act of protest.
“I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart,” Streeter said of the situation Wednesday night. “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,” she added. “Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can’t be ignored.”