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Jay-Z explains why he and Beyoncé remained seated during national anthem at Super Bowl

“It was not premeditated at all,” Jay told an audience at Columbia University on Tuesday.

February 05, 2020
Jay-Z explains why he and Beyoncé remained seated during national anthem at Super Bowl Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Jay-Z and Beyoncé were in attendance at the Super Bowl on Sunday to watch Kansas City Chiefs defeat the San Francisco 49era and secure their first title in over 30 years. However, the married couple's appearance at the game did not pass without some criticism, chiefly that they did not stand when the national anthem was performed before the game. Jay- responded to the social media chatter on Tuesday night when he was asked about it during an appearance at Columbia University.

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Speaking at Columbia's African American & African Diaspora Studies Department, Jay was asked by an audience member if their decision to remain seated was a display of solidarity with former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick. "It actually wasn’t. Sorry," Billboard quotes him as saying. "It really wasn’t. ... It was not premeditated at all."

Jay-Z went on to say that he and Beyoncé were focusing primarily on Demi Lovato as she sang the "Star Spangled Banner." "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."

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The rapper also suggested that daughter Blue Ivy wouldn't have enjoyed sitting ["if we told her we were gonna do something like that, you would have seen her tapping me a hundred times"] and went on to add that the Roc Nation co-produced commercial featuring Botham Jean, the man murdered by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger in September 2018, was a sufficient act of protest for him.

Jay-Z became a "live music entertainment strategist" for the NFL in August 2019. He was involved in the decision to book Jennifer Lopez and Shakira for the 2020 Super Bowl half-time show.

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Jay-Z explains why he and Beyoncé remained seated during national anthem at Super Bowl