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Why Jay-Z and Beyoncé sat during the national anthem

It wasn’t a protest, Jay-Z says

This Nov. 23, 2012 photo shows Jay Z and his wife Beyonce at the Brooklyn Nets against the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball game at Barclays Center in New York.
This Nov. 23, 2012, photo shows Jay Z and his wife Beyonce at the Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball game at Barclays Center in New York.
Kathy Kmonicek, Associated Press

Jay-Z has spoken out on why he and Beyonce sat during Demi Lovato’s performance of the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV.

After the fan-shot video emerged, people began speculating that the decision was motivated by political activism and was meant to show support for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Billboard reported.

But according to Jay-Z, that isn’t the case.

While speaking at Columbia University Tuesday, the rapper clarified that he and Beyonce weren’t protesting, TMZ reported. Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation has a partnership with the NFL and is responsible for coordinating and ensuring the success of Super Bowl performances.

Jay-Z said he was focused on his production duties, making sure Lovato’s performance went well and cameras were capturing quality footage of Yolanda Adams performing “America the Beautiful,” according to Fox News.

Beyonce was taking the moment to reminisce on the times she has performed at the Super Bowl, empathizing with the nerves the performers must be experiencing, TMZ reported. Beyonce has performed at the Super Bowl three times: In 2004 she sang the national anthem; she headlined the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show; and she was featured in Coldplay’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2016, according to ABC News.

If Jay-Z and Beyonce were choosing to protest, they would not have involved their 8-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, who was also sitting during the anthem, according to Fox News.

“I didn’t have to make a silent protest,” Jay-Z said, according to Fox News. “If you look at the stage, the artists that we chose, Colombian (Shakira), Puerto Rican JLo ... we were making the biggest loudest protest of all.”