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Renowned rapper Jay-Z has said the sight of his family, including wife Beyonce and daughter Blue Ivy, sitting during Demi Lovato’s national anthem performance at the Super Bowl last weekend was not a form of protest.
The rapper addressed the situation, a video of which previously spread through media, during a discussion at Columbia University.
“It actually wasn’t. Sorry,” Jay-Z said, as shown in footage first published by TMZ which drew immense criticism. “It really wasn’t. What happened was, it was not premeditated at all.”
He went on to explain, “We got there and we were sitting and now the show’s about to start and wife is with me… She says to me, ‘I know this feeling right here.’ She’s super nervous [for Lovato] because she performed at the Super Bowl before. I haven’t.”
Jay-Z said they “immediately jump into artist mode” upon arrival, talking about “how beautiful she (Lovato) looks and she sounds and what she’s going through and her life, for her to be on this stage we’re so proud of her.”
Referring to Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performing the half time show, he said a “silent protest” from him was unnecessary as the diverse group of performers was “the biggest, loudest protest of all”.
Jay-Z also explained that he produced all the musical performances at the Super Bowl as part of his deal with the NFL as its live music entertainment strategist.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did first knelt during the national anthem at a football game in 2016 as a silent protest of police brutality against black citizens. The act ignited a firestorm within the NFL that still rages today and Kaepernick has not been hired by a NFL team since.
Jay-Z and Beyonce have long been supporters of Kaepernick, The rapper faced backlash when his Roc Nation company announced a partnership with the NFL to produce events and social activism.
Jay-Z recently that he hopes to incite change from within. “No one is saying [Kaepernick] hasn’t been done wrong,” he said. “He was done wrong. I would understand if it was three months ago. But it was three years ago and someone needs to say, ‘What do we do now — because people are still dying?’”