SAN ANTONIO A San Antonio boy who won national attention through his appearances on televised singing competitions has become the focal point of a social media storm, CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS-TV reports.
Sebastien de la Cruz answered the call to sing the national anthem Tuesday at the AT&T Center before Game 3 of the NBA Finals after country singer Darius Rucker canceled at the last minute.
The 11-year-old had no idea how much people would be buzzing about the performance.
"When I started mariachi, I knew there was gonna be a lot of politics," he said. "And I'm just a proud American, to be honest."
Those "politics" didn't stop the talented singer from standing up at the AT&T Center in front of a national television audience to do what he loves inspiring others.
After touching the hearts of the nation and bringing San Antonians to tears with his song, a flurry of racist tweets targeted the boy's heritage.
Cruz told KENS-TV he knows better than to listen to hateful words.
"With the racist remarks, it was just people how they were raised. My father and my mama told me you should never judge people how they look," he said.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro also offered some words of encouragement on his Twitter account, tweeting, "Sebastien de la Cruz, your rendition of the national anthem was spectacular! Don't let a few negative voices get you down."
Support for the former "America's Got Talent" star blew up on Wednesday with some supporters calling for him to return to sing the National Anthem before Game 4.
Some supporters even called on fans to wear traditional mariachi attire to the AT&T Center on Thursday night.