SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) — A singer who lives in the Bay Area stirred up quite a buzz Monday night when she took a knee as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the inaugural Sacramento Kings game at the new Golden 1 Center.
Leah Tysse is a vocalist who lives in Berkeley. According to her website, she is an experienced blues, gospel, jazz and soul singer.
Video and photos of Tysse taking a knee during performance for the Sacramento Kings preseason home opener at the team’s new arena were posted and spread on social media Tuesday night.
She took a knee at the climax of the song as she sang the lyric, “In the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
KPIX 5 spoke with Tysse Tuesday morning. She confirmed that she made the gesture during the anthem, but she wasn’t ready to talk about it. Later Tuesday afternoon, she posted a statement on her Facebook page.
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The statement read, in part, “I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans.”
Tysse continued: “I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do.”
Tysse told KPIX 5 she had a late night because of all the social media responses she got from her actions.
Reaction on social media to what Tysse did during her performance was mixed. Some people offered her praise.
Makayla Pratt tweeted, “@LeahTysse Much respect to you! I know you’ll get a lot of backlash but you have a lot of support! ”
Brian Weathersby tweeted, “@LeahTysse I was at the @SacramentoKings game and as an American of African descent and a veteran I thank you. You made my heart smile.”
But Twitter user C Sanchez called it a “disgusting display,” while Edward Coke took to Twitter to call Tysse “lame and unoriginal” and said he hopes she’s never invited back.
Tysse, a breast cancer survivor, was singing at the Golden 1 Center as part of news radio station KFBK’s “Survivors in 31 Days” breast-cancer series.