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.
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
Thoughts from Leo Beas: Being Latino is very rewarding because I have dealt with a lot of adversity that has helped me become a better journalist and person. When I met Sebastien De La Cruz, I saw a unique boy with a smile that would light up a room with joy because of his humbleness and innocence. I was honored and privileged to have interviewed Sebastien at EIJ13. He is without a doubt an inspiration to our Latino community. The way he conducted himself after all the hatred was amazing because he didn’t allow any of it to affect him. It actually helped him because he showed a maturity beyond his age that captivated many people world wide.