Singer Sevyn Streeter said in a Twitter video (below) the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers canceled her national anthem performance on Oct. 26 because she was going to wear a team jersey with the words: "We Matter."
Streeter stated in the video: "I’m at the 76ers game to sing the national anthem. And the organization is telling me that I can’t because I’m wearing a '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 later told The Associated Press. "I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe."
The basketball team declined to comment on the situation, but instead released a 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.
The NBA declined to comment.
Sixers guard Gerald Henderson told ESPN there was some confusion on the court until Jemila Worley, a Sixers dance team member, stepped in to sing the anthem.
"I saw the little pause there ... I was wondering, something had crossed my mind like, 'What's going on? Did something happen?'" Henderson recalled. "That was pretty big time for a cheerleader to step in there, and she killed it!"
Henderson was not aware that Streeter was originally booked to sing the anthem.
"There's a lot going on man," Henderson added. "People care about these things that are happening, as well as they should. And they are going to express themselves in different ways ... People are trying to make statements, I guess."
Streeter further explained her thoughts to AP:
I was angry, extremely, extremely angry, and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart. 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. Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world, but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can't be ignored.