Jay-Z Admits the Real Reason He and Beyoncé Didn’t Stand for the Super Bowl National Anthem

Jay-Z and Beyoncé are making headlines for the wrong reason.

In the past few years, there’s been a lot of media coverage surrounding silent protests. The NFL has particularly been at the center of a lot of it. However, because these actions are defined by their very inaction, it can be difficult to know when a protest is intentional or not.

For instance, Jay-Z and Beyoncé courted controversy with their appearance at Super Bowl LIV. Jay-Z actually co-produced the entertainment during the broadcast, including the much-talked-about half-time show. But while most viewers were marveling at Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s performance, others were debating why Jay-Z and Beyoncé didn’t stand for the national anthem.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The controversy surrounding Jay-Z and Beyoncé

Given Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s open political views, it’s understandable why some viewers would assume the influential pair was sitting with purpose. During Demi Lovato’s performance of the national anthem, the stars sat and talked instead.

But before anyone gets up in arms about their actions, Jay-Z has already clarified whether he and Beyoncé were attempting to make a political statement.

According to Page Six, Jay-Z directly addressed he and Beyoncé’s appearance at the Super Bowl. The rapper explained he and his wife did not engage in a silent protest.

“It actually wasn’t [a protest] — sorry,” Jay-Z said. “[If I was making a statement,] I’d tell you … I’d say, ‘Yes, that’s what I’ve done.’ I think people know that about me.”

Truly, Jay-Z has never shied away from expressing himself either personally or professionally. So we expect he and his wife would admit it if their true intentions were politically motivated. But then this begs the question: what were Jay-Z and Beyoncé doing during Lovato’s performance?

Why the couple sat during Demi Lovato’s Super Bowl performance

Rather than observing the custom of standing during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Jay-Z was thinking about work. After all, as a producer, he’s partly responsible for how all the musical performances — including Lovato’s — turn out. Jay-Z confessed as much to Page Six.

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 … 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.

Considering the amount of pressure involved in a Super Bowl performance, we can’t really blame an artist of Jay-Z’s caliber for obsessing over the details. In fact, Jay-Z focused Lovato’s performance so much that he didn’t even realize the controversy about to hit him.

So the whole time we’re sitting there, we’re talking about the performance, and then right after that, Demi [Lovato] comes out and we’re talking about how beautiful she looked, and how she sounds and what she’s going through, and her life — for her to be on the stage, we were so proud of her. And then it finished, and then my phone rang. And it was like, “You know you didn’t …” I’m like, “What?”

As it turns out, not only did Jay-Z and Beyoncé not plan to make any kind of statement by not standing for the national anthem. They wouldn’t have done so for a very specific reason.

Why Jay-Z assures us they weren’t conducting a silent protest

Because their 8-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, was with them, Jay-Z said he and Beyoncé wouldn’t have planned a silent protest. As the rapper said, doing so would have put Blue in an uncomfortable position. Besides, she would probably haven’t gotten a bit too excited about it anyway.

“If we told her we were going to do something like that, you would have seen her attacking me 100 times,” Jay-Z told Page Six. “She’s the kid that gets in the car and closes the door and says, ‘Are we there yet, Daddy?’ So she would say, ‘What time? Are we doing it? Are we doing it now? It’s 7:05, daddy … It’s 7:06.'”

The other big reason Jay-Z wouldn’t have even thought to conduct a silent protest at the Super Bowl is the level of representation onstage. With two Latina icons giving it their all during the half-time show, Jay-Z said his team “were [already] making the loudest statement.” Given how much attention Lopez and Shakira received for their bold performance, we’re inclined to agree with him.