Demi Lovato’s performance of the national anthem at the 2020 Super Bowl has been lauded as one of the best of all time. She nailed “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a way that only a truly talented singer could. However, while many fans were left buzzing about her performance, others were focused on the fact that Beyonce and Jay-Z, who were in attendance at one of the biggest and most viewed sports events of the year, did not stand during the anthem.”The Carters [Jay-Z, Beyonce, and their daughter, Blue Ivy] were sitting together a few rows back from the field, and they clearly didn’t make an effort to get up during Demi Lovato’s performance,” TMZ reported. “A guy who appears to be a bodyguard of theirs was standing though, as was pretty much everyone else around them.”
The celebrity couple’s actions were seemingly in support of Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who, The New York Times explains, “first declined to stand during the national anthem in 2016 as a protest against social injustice, especially the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police. He left the team at the end of the season and hasn’t been hired by an N.F.L. team since.”While Beyonce and Jay-Z’s actions during the Super Bowl National Anthem may make it seem like they’re fully behind Kaepernick, this comes after Jay-Z signed a deal with the football organization that some felt betrayed Kaepernick and what he stands (or, rather, kneels) for. Let’s take a closer look.
Jay-Z said ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the Super Bowl
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Beyonce and Jay-Z’s decision to sit during the national anthem at the 2020 Super Bowl carries added weight because it follows the rapper’s decision to align himself directly with the NFL. In 2019, Jay-Z struck a deal “that gives [him] influence over the league’s most important music events, including the halftime show,” The New York Times reported.
While the move raised eyebrows, Jay-Z justified his choice. “I think that we forget that Colin [Kaepernick]’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice so in that case this is a success — this is the next thing,” he said, per TMZ. “There’s two parts of protest: the protest, and then there’s a company or individual saying ‘I hear you, what do we do next?’ For me it’s about actionable items, what are we gonna do about it?”
Although Jay-Z said yes to the NFL partnership, it turns out that he turned down the league when it asked him to perform during the Super Bowl years ago. He admits that he would have accepted the offer, but the organization asked him for something he couldn’t do: Promise to bring Kanye West and Rihanna along for a performance of “Run this Town.” Jay-Z explained his decision to The New York Times: “I said, ‘No, you get me.’ That is not how you go about it, telling someone that they’re going to do the halftime show contingent on who they bring. I said forget it. It was a principle thing.” Principle or not, it hasn’t calmed the buzz about his relationship with the NFL.