After receiving severe backlash, Jay-Z is explaining the reason he and wife Beyoncé remained seated during the National Anthem at the 2020 Super Bowl.
The musician couple had stirred controversy after they did not stand up for Demi Lovato's national anthem presentation, which the public speculated as a subtle political statement. However, the rapper has denied the rumours and claimed it was just an honest mistake, reports Page Six.
The 50-year-old, who is a partner of the NFL and also co-produced this year's halftime show, made the clarification during a lecture series question and answer session at Columbia University on Tuesday night.
When asked if the move was a political statement, the "Forever Young" singer said: "It actually wasn't—sorry. "I'd tell you... I'd say, 'Yes, that's what I've done.' I think people know that about me."
Explaining what actually happened at the moment, Jay-Z said: "What happened was, we got there, we were sitting, and now the show's about to start. My wife was with me and so 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. So we get there and we immediately jump into artist mode."
The father-of-three further said: "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."
The Grammy-winner said that he and Beyonce were discussing how "proud" they are of Demi Lovato when they realised that the performance was over and they forgot to stand.
"Then my phone rang. And it was like, 'You know you didn't...' I'm like, 'What?'" he said, adding that they would never put their daughter Blue Ivy in that situation.
"And if anyone who knows Blue ... If we told her we were going to do something like that, you would have seen her attacking me 100 times,'" Jay-Z said.
The rapper added that he didn't even need to make a political statement, as there was one already made with the artists they chose as headliners for the halftime show. "If you look at the stage and the artists that we chose—Columbian [Shakira] and Puerto Rican J.Lo—we were making the loudest statement," he noted, adding, "And we had ... a commercial running (on) social injustice during the Super Bowl ... Given the context, I didn't have to make a silent protest."
Jennifer Lopez had made another political statement during her performance, by wearing a feather coat, a piece custom made by Versace that featured the US flag on the outside and the Puerto Rican flag on the inside.