Jay-Z says he wasn’t really protesting during the anthem at the Super Bowl

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Jay-Z is a portrait of a man who is trying to have his cake and eat it too. For days, he wanted credit for silently protesting during the national anthem at the Super Bowl, only to come out and say that he wasn’t consciously protesting. He wants credit for talking about social justice with the NFL, all while the NFL still refuses to hire Colin Kaepernick. Jay wants credit for producing one of the best Halftime shows in recent memory, but he reportedly tried to exert pressure on Jennifer Lopez to tone down the political message of the show. Jay-Z is everything and nothing. He will go where the wind blows. So here’s his explanation – after days of people defending his “silent protest” of remaining seated through the anthem – for why he did what he did and why it wasn’t a protest:

JAY-Z and Beyoncé may have remained seated while Demi Lovato sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, but it wasn’t a form of protest as some previously thought. During an appearance at Columbia University on Tuesday, JAY-Z, 50, set the record straight.

“It actually wasn’t. Sorry,” the rapper said when asked if staying seated was “meant to convey a signal,” according to video of the event obtained by TMZ. “It really wasn’t.”

JAY-Z — who produced all of the musical acts at the Super Bowl as part of his deal with the NFL as “live music entertainment strategist” — said that he and Beyoncé, 38, immediately “jumped into artist mode” as soon as the performances began with Yolanda Adams’ rendition of “America the Beautiful.” By the time Lovato, 27, took the stage to sing the National Anthem, the pair were so enthralled with the performance and its logistics that they didn’t stand up.

“So the whole time we’re sitting there, we’re talking about the performance,” he explained, adding that during Adams’ performance, he was preoccupied with what was being shown on televisions across the country versus what people at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida were seeing. “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. It just happened. I didn’t have to make a silent protest,” JAY-Z said, adding that the diverse group of artists that were chosen to perform were “the biggest, loudest protest of all.”

[From People]

Ah, so he wasn’t protesting but if he was, he didn’t need to because Jennifer Lopez and Shakira did a big protest but he tried to get them to stop. That’s it in a nutshell. To be clear, I don’t have an issue with Jay-Z making money and making deals and doing business. He’s a mogul and all that. What bugs me is that he wants to be the smartest businessman and be SEEN as an ethical man of integrity and cultural relevance. And he’s just not that guy anymore. He’s a suit. He’s doing deals with the NFL, he’s making decisions based on corporate interests rather than social consciousness. Anyway, I don’t’ even believe that Jay and Bey remained seated because they were just focused on the music and in “producer mode.”

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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51 Responses to “Jay-Z says he wasn’t really protesting during the anthem at the Super Bowl”

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  1. Sarah says:

    Even if that is the case , shouldn’t they be listening rather than talking through the performance? Seems a bit rude.

    • Lala Gold says:

      Unfortunately, many music business people (managers, agents, executives) talk through performances. Some of the loudest and rudest people at shows are often directly involved with the performing artists. While I wasn’t loud, I used to do this, too. It took me about 5 years after leaving the music business to be able to enjoy music, just listening, without thinking or talking about the business.

      • Christina says:

        True. I hated going to performances with my ex. I once had to just walk out, and I bought the tickets! Regardless of whether or not he was involved with the performance, he never seemed to enjoy performances at all.

    • Ohpioneer says:

      Exactly. Put the shovel down JayZ and walk away from that hole you are digging. Sometimes saying nothing is the best thing.

  2. Aang says:

    Blah to both carters. They care about $$$ and clout and nothing else.

    • Elle says:


    • jules says:

      this. they are both fos and just pawns in the game.

    • Adrianna says:

      They are so full of themselves. Their phony excuse is about the best they could come up with but they probably didn’t care enough to come up with a decent one.

    • MB says:

      Totally. The stanning and excuse-making has reached peak ridiculousness and sometimes we just have to accept that someone can be a great performer *and* a crummy human being at the same time.

  3. Rapunzel says:

    I theorized yesterday that Jay really had no problem with J-Lo’s protest and was simply trying to act like he did because the NFL got mad. This denial of him sitting in protest pretty much proves this theory to me.

    He tried to be woke. But the white men got mad and now he’s Uncle Toming it.

    • nic says:

      Can we retire the term Uncle Tom, please? If the term hinges on the race of the person you’re talking about, it’s a slur. I don’t think you’re being racist. I just think that term is super loaded and it’s not really cool for an anonymous person to use it on a Black man.

  4. T says:

    Look, sit during the anthem as a peaceful protest and be honest about your reasoning. Don’t sit and come up with some BS excuse. So lame.

    • Christina says:

      He’s line straddling. Kaiser’s right: he’s a suit. His being a suit is radical because not many Black men get there in a white-owned and operated business, but, being a suit, he can’t be political because it costs him money and relationships with other mostly white suits.

      I believe that he wasn’t protesting because he was sitting with the other suits and their families, and many of them didn’t stand up during the anthem, but it’s also possible that they weren’t going to stand up because they know that many in the Black community don’t and why they don’t. They aren’t stupid. Beyoncé tries to show her wokeness through her music and videos. This is his thing.

      Hating Beyonce and Jay Z for being rich is, in my opinion, dumb. They are people with power, and they pull a lot of marginalized people up with them. Mally Roncal has a makeup line because of her. They hire a ton of Black performers and behind the scenes people who wouldn’t get a second look in Hollywood and music. They do things with communities quietly that you won’t know about unless you are there. Everyone at that level is suspected and judged, and the reality is that someone like me doesn’t know the Carter’s, Bezos, Elon Musk. They could be horrible people or nice people or porous line straddlers.

    • Green Desert says:

      T, you’re not wrong. I like them and defend them a lot here, but this is line straddling.

      Christina, you make excellent points and this is why I defend J and Beyonce a lot here. These two do a lot for people of color. But they are suits now. It’s an interesting dynamic. And I think that a lot of people DO hate them because they’re rich…even if some don’t want to admit it to themselves, seeing a rich and powerful black couple is unnerving for some. You point out some of the nuances with these two that so many miss in their absolute love or hatred of them.

  5. I'm that person says:

    F*** off, Carter.

    It’s getting more and more obvious that he’s not as smart as he thinks he is.

    • Mumbles says:

      Speaking of not as smart as he thinks he is, whatever happened to Tidal? Hmm.

    • Lady D says:

      So the 49,900 people surrounding him all stand at the same time and start singing the same song, and he just doesn’t notice? This is what he wants us to think?
      ‘Kay, I was wrong. It turns out there was just over 103K at the game Sunday, and he didn’t notice everyone standing?

  6. Nev says:

    Always something weird.
    In this case have a seat.
    I guess they did that already. Haha

  7. julia says:

    They are both insufferable. End rant.

  8. Gobo says:

    In Ireland there is a term: Taking the Soup. During the famine food was offered to starving Catholics by Anglicans on the proviso that they would convert to Protestantism- i.e. take the religion of those who were oppressing and starving the people of Ireland. I think Jay Z has taken the soup, without having the excuse of the threat of starvation.

    • Jessica says:

      Great analogy. One might say what he’s doing is even worse than Kanye’s bs. At least Kanye is putting his stuff out there without duplicity and laziness. I’m horrified by it, but what Jay Z is doing is horrifying x2.

      It is devastating that these two hugely influential people are just basking in their *power* and not actually risking anything.

      Colin risked everything. Jay Z can suck a camel’s behind.

    • TQ says:

      @Gobo. Taking the Soup nails it. Totally on point.

  9. ReginaGeorge says:

    This is from the man who tried to capitalize off of Occupy Wall Street by selling T-shits on his website for his own profit (with no proceeds going to the movement) until he was met with opposition from OWS. He also refused to stand with the boycotters when Barney’s NY racially profiled a Black customer and people called on him to stop selling his merchandise there. He was so flagrant about it Harry Belafonte had to call him out on his hypocrisy.

    And Jay had the audacity to respond to Harry with such disdain it was ridiculous:
    “I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama‘s is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is. You’re the first Black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything he should be left alone.”

  10. Enn says:

    So what I’m seeing from the comments is that Jay isn’t the right kind of Black for you guys. He’s not acting the way you think a “real” Black man should. He’s fake, so is Beyoncé, etc.

    This is a kind of microaggession and racial bias that needs to be examined.

    • Elle says:

      I don’t think it’s that. It’s about taking a stance as ethically conscious and then not walking the walk. At all. See Colin Kaepernick. Now there is a man who has lived up to his words. And he’s being stepped on by J, in the name of $$$.

    • AmunetMaat says:

      Completely agree. Jay Z is a complex individual and people like a reason to hate on him. I don’t even know why we are taking Scott B gossip source as gospel/hard facts in this situation to judge Jay Z’s actions.

    • MB says:

      You can be a black man and also a shitty person who deserves to be called out on it. He is a shitty person who also happens to be black.

  11. ChillyWilly says:

    Crap like this makes me think those Illuminati conspiracy theories may be true. Do the Carter’s do any work to get their fans to vote? I mean, if he really wants to fight against the Nazis who are trying to murder our Democracy then he needs to be more vocal about it because I have no idea where he stands on Trump.

    • Oliviajoy1995 says:

      Jay and Beyonce endorsed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. But they haven’t said much since Trump came into office. He is also friends with Kanye again so who knows where they stand now.

    • Some chick says:

      The Illuminati is not a thing.

      The appropriate place to stand on Trump would be the neck.

      Jay-Z is tapdancing as fast as he can.

    • AmunetMaat says:

      I wouldn’t say that Jay Z is friends with Kanye again. There was a funny meme going around with them both in the picture and Jay Z looks so annoyed to be in Kanye’s presence. I also think Jay Z talks a lot about legacies, black culture, moving beyond and putting in the work to create a situation for yourself and your family that is uplifting the community. He also does a lot of charitable actions, alongside his wife to support his overall message of uplifting the community so I don’t and won’t believe in the Illuminati. Jay Z is also a hustler and business man who did “sell out” his buddies at one point to acquire more wealth but I think he is at a stage in his life now where he doesn’t have to play those games.

  12. Astrid says:

    How self absorbed do you have to be to not hear the national anthem in a stadium?

  13. Allergy says:

    You guys totally ripped off Palinoia! Repeatedly ripped off other artists. I’ll never let it go. You are irritating.

  14. Rae says:

    Well I never thought they were protesting, everyone in their section was seemingly sitting.

  15. Joan Callamezzo says:

    I have been a huge fan of Jay Z’s music for a long time. He is relentlessly talented. He’s an inspiration to me for going from poverty to billionaire status. Having said that, I find his involvement with the NFL problematic and more than that why go into the alcohol business. It’s toxic and it destroys lives, families and communities. I know everyone is making profits off their companies, Ryan Reynolds, George Clooney, etc. I do not understand how they are proud to be that business at all. I’m just saying.

  16. Longtime lurker says:

    No offense. It’s so crazy how most mainstream articles are just now speaking this way about Jay-Z and Beyonce when Black people had been calling them out since day one on their toxicity to the community. Most of us never trusted them

    . We saw through their actions good or bad but some of us had to deal with their fans playing the “crabs in the barrel” card. If someone is anonymous and criticizes: racist! The hives past colorist trolling/bullying of critics in the Black blog comment sections is another story for another day. Bey and Jay benefitted from that then, and you wonder why they stay quiet when public figures get death threats from their fans now.

    That’s why this couple act the way they do now . They never were questioned. So they don’t know how to answer to anything now. Jay was always a wannabe suit and has always said a whole lot without saying anything. His wife has always been a pageant girl who followed trends. Maybe most people felt that way but finally feel safe to say it. I don’t know.

    • Elle says:

      I think you’ve got it. They’re not as woke as many would like to believe. There actions have proven as much. I’m not saying they haven’t done good things. I liked when they endorsed Megan Markle for example. But I feel like they wouldn’t and haven’t really been willing to put themselves out there for the black community. I’m ok with them, but also a bit let down. I would have loved to see them openly protect this racist organization (nfl)

    • Christina says:

      Longtime Lurker, Sidney Poitier criticized them for not doing more for Black causes. Sidney also dumped Eartha Kitt, she claims, because he told her that marrying a Black woman would never help his career. He wasn’t wrong about that, because his movies made a lot of money and his most famous role paired him with a white woman, and his work made white people feel like they aren’t so bad. I feel like Sidney felt bad about it and became more politically active. After hearing Ms Kitt discuss him, I think he’s a awful, but lots of people love his activism and for being the first huge Black male star since Paul Robeson.

      I’d love for Jay and Bey to do more, but they don’t want to call attention to what little they do because they are trying to straddle the line and keep their power and money. Colin Kaepernick was willing to lose his career for what he believes in. Colin is a rare gem. Most of us are more like Beyoncé and Jay Z.

      I’ve had to put my money where my mouth is. As a younger woman trying to pull myself out of poverty, I tried to blend and straddle the line. As an older women with fewer fucks to give, I make noise about racism and sexism when I see it, and I work on raising scholarship money for kids who pull up other kids who are living with racism and classism. A friend told me, “Do what you can. If you invite the homeless to stay at your house, you might get killed because of someone’s mental illness. Do what you can and mentor young Black and Latinx people to get at least as far as we have.” Many would say that I don’t do enough with my privilege of having survived Watts and welfare with my middle class lifestyle. I do what I can, but it will never be enough to people who haven’t had the privilege of pulling out of what I pulled out of, who didn’t have the combination of help I got that allowed me to flourish.

      Survivor’s guilt will be here for all of us minorities who manage to do better than expected by the larger society. Jay and Bey are not perfect, but I think that this us much more complicated than worshipping them or calling them awful, neither of which you’ve done, BTW. Just saying that the people who do demonize and/or worship them can believe what they want to, but people in their position will be hated when the fact that they are here sitting in seats with their child that were once only for white folks is a big deal, and few of us have clean hands about what we do to survive in less moneyed circles.

      • Goldie says:

        @Christina are you confusing Sydney Portier with Harry Belafonte? I thought he was the one made the comments about Eartha Mitt and also criticized Bet and Jay for not doing enough. Or did they both say that?

      • Christina says:

        Goldie, you are right. It had to be Harry Belafonte. That was dumb. Apologies.

  17. SM says:

    That was a bullshit attempt at explanation while not explaining. He did not stand up because he and his wife think that they are Gods and the general rules for peasants do not apply to them.

  18. liriel says:

    Wow, Jay-Z is already so rich yet still so hungry for more despite the morals. I guess that’s part of the reason why I’m not rich and they are.
    Is Jay-Z turning a bit villainish then?

  19. kerwood says:

    They needed a Black man to cover their abuse of the Black men whose hard work they make billions of dollars from and Jay-Z was first in line. There’s a name for people like that.