Music | February 5, 2020 9:43 am

Jay-Z Says Sitting During the Anthem Wasn’t a “Silent Protest”

He insists the couple was simply in "artist mode"

Beyonce and Jay-Z
In a screenshot from TMZ's footage, Beyonce and Jay-Z were seated during the national anthem

On Sunday night, Jay-Z and Beyoncé were spotted sitting during Demi Lovato’s performance of the national anthem at the Super Bowl, causing some speculation that the couple was making a political statement. But on Tuesday night, the rapper insisted that the decision to remain seated was purely accidental.

At a Q-and-A at Columbia University on Tuesday night, he reportedly explained that the couple was distracted and forgot to stand because they were focused on the performance. “What happened was, we got there, we were sitting, and now the show’s about to start,” he said. “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. 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?”

He added that the couple sat “the whole time…talking about the performance,” noting that they were “proud” of Lovato. “And then it finished and then my phone rang,” he said. “And it was like, ‘You know you didn’t…’ I’m like, ‘What?’”

Jay-Z also pointed out that he didn’t need to stage a “silent protest” and that Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s halftime performance was “making the loudest statement.”

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