Sorry folks … Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé were not making a statement when they sat during the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV. They were just caught up in the moment.
At a Columbia University Q&A as part of a lecture series Tuesday night, a moderator asked the rapper — who co-produced the entertainment at this year’s Super Bowl — whether sitting when Demi Lovato sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” was “meant to convey a signal?”
“It actually wasn’t — sorry,” said the music mogul, 50. He said that if he’d wanted to make a political statement, “I’d tell you … I’d say, ‘Yes, that’s what I’ve done.’ I think people know that about me.”
So what happened? According to Jay he and Bey were so into the show and Demi’s performance they didn’t even realize they hadn’t stood with the rest of the arena.
“What happened was,” he continues. “We got there, we were sitting, and now the show’s about to start. My wife was with me and so she says to me, ‘I know this feeling right here.’ Like, she’s super-nervous because she’s performed at Super Bowls before. I haven’t,” he said to laughs from the audience. “So we get there and we immediately jump into artist mode … now I’m really just looking at the show. Did the mic start? Was it too low to start? … I had to explain to them [that] as an artist, if you don’t feel the music, you can’t really reach that level.”
Following the game the couple received some criticism after video surfaced showing them and their 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy sitting while Demi Lovato performed the national anthem.
He also said that he nor Bey would have made a political statement of that magnitude when their daughter Blue was present. Instead Jay-Z said he believed a statement was being made by the diverse halftime show which was co-headlined by Latina superstars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira and included other Latin artists as well.
“I didn’t have to make a silent protest … If you look at the stage and the artists that we chose — Colombian [Shakira] and Puerto Rican J.Lo — we were making the loudest statement … And we had … a commercial running [on] social injustice during the Super Bowl … Given the context, I didn’t have to make a silent protest.”
For his part, the NFL ran an ad during the game showing Cardinals player Anquan Boldin talking about a cousin who was killed by a police officer in 2015. As previously reported back in August (2019) Jay struck a deal with the NFL to work on both live entertainment and social justice initiatives. Many also took issue with Jay for doing business with the NFL without including Colin Kapernick who first began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.
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