Sevyn Streeter was supposed to perform the national anthem before the Philadelphia 76ers’ season opener on Wednesday night until there was a last-minute change. The organization wouldn’t let the singer perform because of what she was wearing.
Streeter was prepared to sing while wearing a jersey that read “We Matter,” but the 76ers didn’t approve of her outfit. The team instead had Jemila Worley, a Sixers dance team member, sing the anthem.
“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 told ESPN. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”
Once the game between the 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder began, Streeter explained what happened on Twitter.
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change,” the 76ers said in a statement. “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.”
According to billypenn.com, Streeter was specifically told not to kneel during the anthem. Singer Denasia Lawrence knelt while performing the anthem in Miami before the 76ers’ preseason game against the Heat. Two days through the NBA season, no players have followed the lead of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players by kneeling during the anthem.
Streeter, 30, recently released her single “D4L” featuring The-Dream, and the video has over 188,000 views on YouTube after 10 days. The R&B singer hasn’t had any mainstream hits, but she does have one million followers on Instagram, having started her career in 2001 with the group TG4.
Streeter has helped write songs for Ariana Grande, Kelly Rowland, Alicia Keys and Chris Brown. She is currently signed to Brown’s record label.