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R&B Singer Sevyn Streeter Couldn’t Sing the National Anthem Because of Her ‘We Matter’ Jersey

Update: Sources close to the 76ers tell Stylish that they aren’t trying to diminish the statement that Sevyn Streeter was trying to make.

“We had a contract that she signed, including what we call the ‘Janet Jackson clause’ that gives us the right to review costumes ahead of time,” insiders said. “She signed that agreement. The gentlemen that arranged this knows her personally, actually, so when he went in to check in with her and he saw her shirt, he didn’t tell her she couldn’t wear it.” The 76ers staffer asked Streeter to put a jacket on and even offered her one of the team’s jerseys instead. They wanted her to cover up her shirt for the anthem, but was willing to take photos of her in it after the performance.

Apparently, Streeter wasn’t open to alternative options, and the organization made their decision. But our sources maintain that the 76ers are open-minded, just like the musician. “We took a lot of time with our players and what we as an organization wanted to do [in response to the national anthem protests.] The players picked an organization and donated $10,000 because they want to make a difference,” the sources reveal. “Then, the 76ers honored two individuals that had been part of gun violence here in the local city as well as another organization called Unity in the Community. They hope she uses this incident because she has a great platform. Go use it for good change. The 76ers are trying to open dialogue and make a change.” 

Foul play. R&B singer Sevyn Streeter claims that the Philadelphia 76ers wouldn’t let her perform during its Wednesday, October 26, season opener — all because she wore a jersey printed with a simple but powerful statement.

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“I was suppose to sing the national anthem at the @sixers and @okcthunder game in #Philly but minutes before @sixers organization said I could not because I was wearing a ‘We Matter’ jersey. WTF!” the “It Won’t Stop” musician, 30, captioned an October 26 Instagram video, showing off the sleeveless black and white top. As a result, Jemila Worley, a member of the 76ers dance team, was asked to sing instead.

Understandably, the team’s actions evoked several of Streeter’s emotions. “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. I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe,” she told the Associated Press. “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.”

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The 76ers hasn’t apologized to the singer, but seems to stand by the decision. “The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change,” an October 27 statement reads, possibly referencing an October 2016 preseason game against the Heat during which singer Denasia Lawrence knelt and wore a “Black Lives Matter” tee during the national anthem. “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.”

But the community doesn’t seem to appreciate the effort. Many tweeters are responding to the team’s unrelated tweets with the hashtags #Boycott76ers and #WeMatter. A team tweet requesting fans to “Do yourself a favor and watch these highlights with sound” on October 27 was particularly targeted.

“Do yourself a favor and get with the times,” @erichart85 wrote on October 27. “Not allowing Sevyn Streeter to sing the national Anthem because of a Tshirt? Shows why the Sixers, have been, and will continue to be the laughing stock of the NBA. You can’t get anything right.”

Another user called for the team to make amends with Streeter. “how about do yourselves a favor and issue a formal apology to @sevyn,” @frankyb333 replied. “‘We use our games to bring people together’ FOH”

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