Jay-Z Explains Why He and Beyonce Stayed Seated During the National Anthem at Super Bowl 2020

Jay-Z set the record straight after being accused of trying to make a political statement when he and Beyoncé stayed seated during the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, February 2.

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“It actually wasn’t. Sorry,” the rapper, 50, said during a Q&A session at Columbia University in New York City on Tuesday, February 4, via Page Six. “[If I wanted to make a statement] I’d tell you. … I’d say, ‘Yes, that’s what I’ve done.’ I think people know that about me.”

Jay-Z Explains Why He and Beyonce Stayed Seated During the National Anthem at Super Bowl 2020
Jay-Z and Beyoncé Shutterstock (2)

Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) explained that when he and Beyoncé, 38, arrived at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Sunday, she turned to him and recalled the three times she took the stage at the NFL championship game: first in 2004 to sing the national anthem, and then again in 2013 and 2016 to perform at halftime.

“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. “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.”

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The Roc Nation founder told the audience on Tuesday that after he and the “Formation” singer talked about her past performances, Demi Lovato came out on the field to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“We’re talking about how beautiful she looked and how she sounds and what she’s going through and her life — for her to be on the stage, we were so proud of her,” he said of Lovato, who recently made a musical comeback after her near-fatal 2018 drug overdose. “And then it finished and then my phone rang. And it was like, ‘You know you didn’t [stand up].’ I’m like, ‘What?’”

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Jay-Z insisted that he and Beyoncé would never have made a political move with their 8-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, present, saying, “We wouldn’t do that to Blue and put her in that position.” He later noted that the couple “didn’t have to make a silent protest” because halftime performers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira “were making the loudest statement” on stage with their Latin-influenced show.

Through the years, the “Apes–t” collaborators have been vocal supporters of Colin Kaepernick, who became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem in 2016 as a peaceful protest against racial injustice. The former San Francisco 49ers player, 32, has not played in the league since 2017.

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