*Sevyn Streeter was all set to perform the national anthem at the Philadelphia 76ers’ season opening game on Wednesday (Oct. 26) against Oklahoma City, but the singer says she was told that she couldn’t because of her t-shirt.
Streeter tweeted a video showing her “We Matter” jersey that was deemed too controversial.
“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,” she said, clearly upset.
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
The Associated Press caught up with Streeter late Wednesday to get more details.
“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,” the R&B singer said by phone. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”
The Sixers declined to comment on Streeter’s cancelation specifically, but said the following in 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 had no comment. The Sixers, meanwhile, had a member of the Sixers dance team sing the anthem in Streeter’s place.
Sevyn, born Amber Denise Streeter, said she was hurt by the Sixers’ actions.
“I was angry, extremely, extremely angry, and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart,” she said. “Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that.”
This isn’t the first time this month the Sixers were involved in a national anthem controversy. A woman performing the Star Spangled Banner before their NBA preseason game against the Miami Heat did so while kneeling at midcourt.
Denasia Lawrence opened her jacket just before she started to sing, revealing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, then dropped to her left knee and performed the song. She said it was her way of protesting racial oppression.