The 2020 Super Bowl has come and gone, but the drama surrounding game day still lingers on. People are still scratching their heads about those random (but very strategic) political ads, and the internet has yet to stop talking about Shakira's viral homage to her Latinx and Arabic background. Now, a new controversy has popped up, and somehow, Beyoncé is at the centre of it. Here we go again.
Demi Lovato moved audiences in Miami's Hard Rock Stadium and those of us at home to tears with her heartfelt rendition of the national anthem. But when a video began circulating the internet showing the Carter-Knowles family sitting down during the patriotic moment, many were quick to come up with their own theories. Were Jay-Z and Beyoncé (Blue Ivy was there, too) not feeling the performance? Were they protesting the NFL à la Colin Kaepernick?
Neither, confirms Jay-Z. The rapper spoke on the matter while attending a Q&A event at Columbia University on Tuesday night. A moderator for the event inquired whether the couple chose to stay seated to "convey a signal," to which Jay-Z responded in the negative.
"It actually wasn’t — sorry," he told the audience.
The moment was more closely tied to Beyoncé's reputation as an artist who pays close attention to details, Jay-Z explained. "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.”
“So we get there and we immediately jump into artist mode … now I’m really just looking at the show," He continued. "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.”
Apparently, he and Beyoncé, two veterans in the music game with an observed appreciation for performance quality, were so consumed by their close study of Lovato's performance that they didn't even realize that they were sitting down the entire time. The couple wasn't trying to make a statement, and Jay-Z felt that they didn't have to — the halftime show itself spoke for itself.
“I didn’t have to make a silent protest," Jay-Z told the audience. "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...given the context, I didn’t have to make a silent protest.”
On Sunday, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez became the first Latinas to perform on the halftime stage, and their solo and duet performances sent a loud message to everyone watching. Performing in Spanish (and scouting some of the biggest names in Latin music to join them onstage) in one of the largest immigrant hubs of the United States on one of the biggest platforms in the country? Yeah, I'd say that we got the message loud and clear.
So please, feel free to exclude Beyoncé from this narrative. Thank you.