A video obtained by TMZ shows Beyoncé and Jay-Z notably remaining in their seats during Demi Lovato’s performance of the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday.
The power couple, who attended the game with their 8-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, was filmed sitting through Lovato’s stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as nearly everyone around them stood at Hard Rock Stadium, just before the Kansas City Chiefs eventual win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The move came six months after Jay-Z announced a partnership between his agency Roc Nation and the NFL, which gave the rapper control over the league’s music events, such as the halftime show, and its social justice initiative, Inspire Change.
Backlash over the deal was swift, with many fans deeming the partnership a slight to former 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first sparked controversy in 2016 when he opted to sit for the national anthem during a preseason game to protest the oppression of Black people in America, particularly by authorities.
Kaepernick’s protest, which saw him kneel during the national anthem ahead of multiple games during the 2016-17 NFL season, garnered widespread media attention and mixed reception from footballers and the general public.
He has not been signed by a team since the end of that season, which many believe is linked to his kneeling.
Jay-Z had been an outspoken supporter of Kaepernick from early on, wearing a custom jersey featuring the quarterback’s name while performing on Saturday Night Live in 2017 and speaking out about the meaning of Kaep’s protest during a concert in Miami that same year.
Following the announcement of his deal with the NFL, Jay-Z told the New York Times that the impending backlash would be a small price to pay in order to be given a platform to enact social change, particularly in regards to white football fan’s perception of police brutality against Black people.
“As long as real people are being hurt and marginalized and losing family members, then yes, I can take a couple rounds of negative press,” he told the Times.”
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