Young mariachi singer fights back against racism

Posted at: 07/13/2013 10:26 PM | Updated at: 07/13/2013 10:34 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4 and KOB.com Staff

Hundreds of people in Albuquerque celebrated Mexican American culture through mariachi music at the “Mariachi Spectacular” at Sandia Casino on Saturday night. One of those performers is also lending his voice to the fight against racism.

11-year-old Sebastian De La Cruz became the center of a racist firestorm, with people calling the Mexican American an illegal immigrant and much worse.

Veteran mariachis tell KOB Eyewitness News 4 that the attention is a good thing because his response is changing things for the better.

On Saturday night, Sebastian De La Cruz was all about New Mexico

But De La Cruz is actually a nationwide sensation.

He first stole the spotlight on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, but his performance of the National Anthem at a San Antonio Spurs game made him a household name.

As he sang, people hurled insults about his mariachi outfit and his Latino ethnicity all over the internet and social media, but De La Cruz stood up to the blatant racism.

“People still look at me as a person that was lower than everybody. I wanted to show them, it doesn't matter what I look like, I can become whoever I want to, “says De La Cruz.

Veteran mariachis say the innocent, endearing 11-year-old boy now stands for something.

”My respects to that little man cause he's doing a lot as a child singer and representing also mariachis, this is helping us across the United States. Allowing us to be heard," says performer Gilberto Ramirez.

They hope he will be an ambassador, leading more people to understand the culture of mariachi and what it represents.

“It brings you closer to your roots, “says performer Orlando Deleon.

Sebastian just hopes this music will warm the hearts and open eyes.

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