Jay-Z has denied he and his wife Beyonce were making a “silent protest” by staying seated while Demi Lovato performed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
The pair hit headlines on Sunday (February 2, 2020) when a video emerged of them sitting down, alongside their eight-year-old daughter Blue, while Demi belted out The Star-Spangled Banner.
However, while speaking to Columbia University students on Tuesday night, the rapper hit back at speculation that the move was done to echo the actions of star athletes such as Colin Kaepernick, who famously “took a knee” during the anthem as a protest against police brutality.
Asked if staying seated was meant to convey a statement, JAY-Z replied: “It actually wasn’t. Sorry. It really wasn’t… It was not premeditated at all.”
Insisting they would never have put their daughter in that position either, he continued: “We wouldn’t do that to Blue and put her in that position. If anyone knows Blue… If we told her we were gonna do something like that, you would have seen her tapping me a hundred times. She’s the kid that gets in the car and closes the door and says, ‘We there yet, Daddy?’ So she would say, ‘What time? Are we doing it?’”
Instead, he explained that due to his role in developing the Halftime Show, he and Beyonce were so busy discussing the set-up of the performance that they simply forgot to stand up.
“So we get there, and we immediately jump into artist mode,” he said. “So I’m looking at the show. ‘Did our mic start? Was it too low to start?’ … ‘Is it too many speakers on the floor?’ … So the whole time we’re sitting there and we’re talking about the performance. And then right after that, Demi comes out, and we’re talking about how beautiful she looked and how she sound(ed), and what she’s going through in her life for her to be on the stage and we’re so proud of her.”
The Empire State of Mind star went on to insist that the diversity of the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which starred Latina superstars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, and the commercial his Roc Nation company co-produced featuring Botham Jean, who was murdered by police officer Amber Guyger in September 2018, made any kind of “silent protest” redundant.
“We were making the biggest, loudest protest of all,” he concluded. “Given the context, I didn’t have to make a silent protest.”