One observer figured Jay-Z and Beyonce stayed seated during the national anthem at the Super Bowl in "a pathetic attempt by two calculating businesspeople to win back some credit with fans and protesters" after Jay-Z's entertainment company, Roc Nation, partnered with the NFL. According to Jay-Z, that's way, way off. The rapper—who produced the night's musical performances, including Demi Lovato's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner"—was simply in "artist mode," focusing on sound levels, he said during an appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday, per the BBC.
It "just happened," he went on, noting he was listening for problems during Yolanda Adam's performance of "America the Beautiful," per Fox News. Then "Demi comes out and we're talking about how beautiful she looked and how she sounds and what she's going through in her life for her to be on the stage. We're so proud of her," he said. He added a silent protest wasn't needed since the diversity of performers served as "the biggest, loudest protest of all." In August, Jay-Z said he supported kneeling during the national anthem to draw attention to social injustices. But "I think it's time to go into actionable items," he said, per TMZ. "We all know the issue now." (Read more Jay Z stories.)