11-year-old mariachi singer’s talent trumps racist tweets

Written by Leo Beas and Landon Miller 

When he was 4 years old, he told his father that he wanted to become a Mexican cowboy.

After some work, he broke into the scene on America’s Got Talent and was eliminated in the semi-finals. Below is de La Cruz during the quarterfinals of the contest.

Later, he was asked to sing the national anthem on June 11, 2013 during game 3 of the NBA Finals.

But despite a great rendition of the song, de La Cruz became the target of numerous racist comments posted on Twitter.

To show support for the young singer, the San Antonio Spurs brought de La Cruz back for game 4 of the NBA Finals, and he was outstanding for a second game in a row.

Since the national anthem episode, de La Cruz’s fame on social media has exploded. He now has more than 164,000 Likes on his Facebook page and almost 16,000 Twitter followers.

Then on July 8, de La Cruz lead 600 mariachi singers as they broke a Guinness World Record at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., for a Gold Cup soccer match.

De La Cruz gave me an exclusive interview and talked about the significance of being Latino. Following the interview, Judith Martinez, Telemundo Atlanta news director, broke down in tears thanking him for being an inspiration to many in the Latino community, including her son.

And of course, he also sang the national anthem.

Edited by Jayme Curtis, Jocelin Drennan, Kamille Wong

Sebastian De La Cruz dresses before the Excellence In Journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday, Aug. 24. The 11-year-old superstar is known as El Charro de Oro in his hometown of San Antonio, Tex. The America’s Got Talent semifinalist’s national anthem performance at the NBA finals ignited a firestorm of racist comments on Twitter. PHOTOGRAPH BY LEONEL BEAS/LATINO REPORTER