When the national anthem began at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, everyone stood for Demi Lovato’s amazing performance… well, everyone except Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who remained seated along with their daughter, Blue Ivy.
The family sat together at Hard Rock Stadium while the Kansas City Chiefs played against the San Francisco 49ers. Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation has a partnership with the NFL, which gives him a say on which artists can perform during major NFL events.
Considering that Jay-Z is a partner of the NFL, many were surprised when he and Beyoncé sat down while Demi Lovato belted the national anthem. They were seated only a few rows back from the field when it happened, and even their bodyguard stood during the performance.
— Demi Lovato Charts (@dlcharts) February 3, 2020
It is worthwhile to note that Jay-Z originally teamed up with the NFL as a way to shine light on the criminal justice system, police brutality and other causes that are affecting the black community across the United States.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Jay-Z was questioned about his partnership with the NFL. He insisted that it wasn’t for economic gain, but instead a way to promote education about social justice.
“As long as real people are being hurt and marginalized and losing family members, then yes, I can take a couple rounds of negative press,” said Jay-Z.
“No one is saying he hasn’t been done wrong. He was done wrong,” Jay-Z said about Colin Kaepernick and his political protests. “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.”
Jay-Z made it clear that he supports player protests like Kaepernick’s famous kneeling. But he also wants to work with the NFL to make substantial changes going forward.
At a Columbia University talk on February 4, a professor asked if the couple’s decision to sit out the anthem was a political statement. Jay-Z refuted, saying, “It actually wasn’t. Sorry.”
Instead, he offered another explanation: he and Beyoncé went into “artist mode” and got caught up in studying the performance and technical details.
Also apparently in artist mode was daughter Blue Ivy. Jay-Z joked that there was no way their 8-year-old daughter could “play it cool” for a planned protest.
Jay-Z also commended the diversity represented on stage that evening.