Jay-Z explains why he and Beyoncé sat during Demi Lovato’s Super Bowl national anthem

Jay-Z and Beyoncé were filmed sitting Sunday night during the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

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Jay-Z and Beyoncé were filmed sitting Sunday night during the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
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Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Jay-Z has explained the reasons he and Beyoncé remained seated during the national anthem at Sunday night’s Super Bowl, which was sung by Demi Lovato.

The rapper was at Columbia University on Tuesday, where a professor asked him to address the video of the couple sitting during the Super Bowl performance that was obtained by TMZ.

As reported by TMZ, the professor asked him whether their sitting was supposed to “convey a signal,” but Jay-Z responded: “It actually wasn’t. Sorry.”

In the footage obtained by TMZ, he said: “It really wasn’t. What happened was, it was not premeditated at all.”

He added: “If it was me, I’d say yes, that’s what I’ve done. I think people know that about me.”

Jay-Z then explained that they were sitting as the show was about to start, and Beyoncé turned to him and said she knew how Lovato must be feeling.

Demi Lovato performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl in Miami.

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Demi Lovato performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl in Miami.
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ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

“She’s performed at the Super Bowl before,” Jay-Z said. “I haven’t.”

He added that “we immediately jump into artist mode,” and he said he and Beyoncé were looking at the show from a professional point of view.

“Now I’m really just looking at the show,” he said. “So I’m looking at the show. Did her mic start? Was it too low to start?”

Fans connected Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s actions to Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem before games in 2016 in protest against police brutality.

The rapper has spoken out in support of Kaepernick in the past, including in a 2017 interview with New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet.

Jay-Z previously defended his decision to collaborate on social-justice issues with the NFL along with Roc Nation, the entertainment agency he founded in 2008.

“As long as real people are being hurt and marginalized and losing family members, then yes, I can take a couple rounds of negative press,” he said in a recent interview with the New York Times’ Katherine Rosman.

Jay-Z also told the Columbia University professor that he and Beyoncé were proud of Lovato for performing at the Super Bowl despite what she was going through in her personal life. In 2018, Lovato suffered an apparent drug overdose, while last October a hacker released what appeared to be nude photos of her on Snapchat. Fans praised the singer’s strength after her performance at the Grammys this year.

Jay-Z then said the couple couldn’t and wouldn’t have staged any kind of sit-down protest with their daughter Blue Ivy next to them.

“We wouldn’t do that to Blue and put her in that position,” Jay-Z said, adding: “If we told her we were going to do something like that, you’d have seen her tapping me a hundred times.”

He finished discussing the video by saying that the diversity of the artists onstage, including the halftime performers Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, were the “biggest and loudest” kind of protest they could have made – Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation helped plan the event.

“I didn’t have to make a silent protest,” he said. “You know, if you look at the stage, the artists that we chose, Colombian Shak and Puerto Rican J-Lo.”

Watch the full TMZ video here.