JAY-Z explains why he and wife Beyoncé sat during Demi Lovato’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl LIV.
On Tuesday night, the “Reasonable Doubt” rapper attended a lecture series at Columbia University, where a professor asked him about the controversy.
When the moderator asked if the two were seated to "convey a signal," the Roc Nation founder — whose company is the NFL’s live music entertainment strategist — answered, “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.”
In fact, the MC said he and the “Formation” singer — who performed at Super Bowl XXXVIII, XLVII, and L — were watching the show in “artist mode.”
“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,” he explained. “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.”
While presumably referencing Lovato’s July 2018 overdose, the mogul continued, “So the whole time we’re sitting there, we’re talking about the performance, and then right after that, Demi 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?’”
The 50-year-old also noted that he and his wife would never make a spectacle in front of their 8-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.
“Blue was right next to us. We wouldn’t do that to Blue and put her in that position. 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,” he remarked. “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.’”
Overall, Jay did not feel the need to “make a silent protest” as he is proud of the Super Bowl’s diverse array of artists, including halftime show headliners Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
“I didn’t have to make a silent protest… If you look at the stage and the artists that we chose — Colombian [Shakira] and Puerto Rican J.Lo — we were making the loudest statement,” he noted. “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.”