Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Jay-Z responds to claims he and Beyonce staged a protest during the Super Bowl

Jay-Z has hit back at claims that he was staging a protest during the national anthem at the Super Bowl, alongside his wife Beyonce.

Pictures appeared online of the celebrity power couple and their eight-year-old daughter Blue Ivy remaining in their seats as Demi Lovato performed The Star Spangled Banner before the NFL's showpiece event on Sunday.

It led to speculation they were trying to send a message after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick famously kneeled during the national anthem in protest against racial inequality in the US.

Kaepernick has been without a team since 2017.

During an appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday Jay-Z denied any wrongdoing and explained why he and Beyonce stayed seated.

"It actually wasn't. Sorry," the rapper said when asked if it was an attempt to send a message. "It really wasn't."

The 50-year-old, who produced all the musical performances at Sunday's Super Bowl in his deal with the NFL as the "live music entertainment strategist," said he and Beyonce jumped straight into "artist mode" when the singing started.

Jay-Z said as the show kicked off he was preoccupied with whether the sound levels were too low and what the TV cameras were picking up and beaming to millions of homes across America.

He added: "And then right after that, Demi comes out, and we're talking about how beautiful she looks and how she sounds, and what she's gone through in her life for her to be on the stage and we're so proud of her."

The music mogul said him and Beyonce staying seated "just happened" and they did not need to make a "silent protest" as the diverse group of performers was "the biggest, loudest protest of all".