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Jay-Z claims sitting during Super Bowl national anthem was not political

During a lecture series at Columbia University, rapper Jay-Z said they "jumped into artist mode." There was no political agenda.
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MIAMI (WTHR) — Rapper Jay-Z said that he and his family were not trying to make a political statement by sitting during the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday.

TMZ posted a video showing Jay-Z, his wife, Beyoncé, and their daughter, Blue Ivy, sitting during Demi Lovato's performance at the Hard Rock Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers played the Kansas City Chiefs.

A theory circulated on social media that the famous family was making a political statement in solidarity with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who caused controversy in the NFL by kneeling during the national anthem.

Jay-Z said that's not the case during his first "Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter Lecture Series" at Columbia University on Tuesday. TMZ released a video of the rap mogul explaining himself.

"It was not premeditated at all," Jay-Z said in the video. "We immediately jumped into artist mode."

He said he was focused on the quality of the sound in the performance.

Jay-Z co-produced all entertainment during the Super Bowl, including the halftime show featuring Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, Lovato's performance and Yolanda Adams' rendition of "America the Beautiful." His company, Roc Nation, announced a partnership with the NFL for events and social activism last year.

"So the whole time we were sitting there, throughout the performances, right after that, Demi comes, out and we're talking about how beautiful she looked and how she sound and what she's going through and her life," said Jay-Z. "For her to be on the stage, we’re so proud of her. And then, you know, it finished and my phone rang. And I was like, 'You know you didn't just…' I'm like, 'what?'"

He even talked about how he wouldn't have been able to stage the protest with Blue Ivy there. He said she would have constantly asked about when and where it would take place.