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Sebastien De La Cruz responds to racist remarks over anthem performance

By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   June 14, 2013 at 10:14 AM  |  Updated June 14, 2013 at 12:26 PM   |   Comments

June 14 (UPI) -- Sebastien De La Cruz, the Mexican-American 11-year-old mariachi who performed the national anthem before game 3 of the NBA finals in San Antonio, TX on Tuesday, has responded to the racist remarks that ensued his performance.

"For those that said something bad about me, I understand it's your opinion," Sebastien told CNN. "I'm a proud American and live in a free country. It's not hurting me. It's just your opinion."

Sebastien's rendition of the national anthem had a distinct mariachi sound to it and apparently it didn't click well with many of the viewers.

"Why is a foreigner singing the national anthem. I realize that's San Antonio but that still ain't Mexico" wrote Lewie Groh on Twitter.

"Who let this illegal alien sing our national anthem?" tweeted Matt Cyrus.

"Why they got a Mexican kid singing the national anthem -___-" wrote Daniel Gilmore.

Sebastien's father, Juan De La Cruz, says the family didn't take the comments too personally.

"I think people reacted the way they did because Sebastien was wearing his mariachi outfit," said De La Cruz, "But, it doesn't make sense to listen to those people when most of the feedback we have gotten is positive. San Antonio supports Sebastien."

Sebastien, who was a contestant on "America's Got Talent" when he was 5-years-old, has dealt with bigotry before.

"When he was on 'America's Got Talent,' he faced racism there, too. You can't satisfy everyone," said De La Cruz to CNN.

Most tweets slamming Sebastian have since been either deleted or the authors have closed their accounts. However, Public Shaming, a Tumblr blog dedicated to outing racists' social media post, has a collection of the tweets on their site.

New posts supporting Sebastien have flooded the Internet over the past couple of days.

As for Sebastien, he encouraged his fans to disregard the hatred as he will continue to "live the American dream," and "this is part of the American Life."

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