Jay-Z Might Be Past Kneeling, But He’s Not Past Explaining Why He and Beyoncé Sat During the Super Bowl National Anthem

Illustration for article titled Jay-Z Might Be Past Kneeling, But He’s Not Past Explaining Why He and Beyoncé Sat During the Super Bowl National Anthem
Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (AFP via Getty Images)

Over the weekend, multi-hyphenate Jay-Z drew the ire of Wendy Williams, exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and pretty much the rest of the free world when he and Beyoncé decided to remain seated during the Super Bowl’s national anthem.


While MAGA Twitter roasted the Roc Nation overlord for what they assumed was the latest treasonous protest, those of us who adhere to the one-drop rule had one question in particular: “Isn’t this the same nigga who said he was ‘past kneeling?’”

Perhaps eager to clear up the confusion, the 50-year-old music mogul chose his newly unveiled lecture series at Columbia University as the perfect opportunity to remind us once again that he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man.

On Tuesday night, as Billboard reports, the “I Just Wanna Love U” rapper got some dirt off his shoulder and admitted that he might have 99 problems, but a national anthem protest ain’t one—because he never protested in the first place.

“It actually wasn’t. Sorry,” he admitted. “It really wasn’t. [...] It was not premeditated at all.”


Y’all really thought the same dude who once told the NFL, “You need me, I don’t need you” then turned around and became the league’s black boyfriend was about to fuck up date night with his billion-dollar boo?

And I’m not talking about Beyoncé.

“So we get there, and we immediately jump into artist mode,” he continued. “So I’m looking at the show. ‘Did our mic start? Was it too low to start?’ [...] ‘Is it too many speakers on the floor?’ [...] So the whole time we’re sitting there and we’re talking about the performance. And then right after that, Demi [Lovato] comes out, and we’re talking about how beautiful she looked and how she sound[ed], and what she’s going through in her life for her to be on the stage and we’re so proud of her.”


He then expressed reasonable doubt as to whether Blue Ivy would’ve been down to protest anyway.

“We wouldn’t do that to Blue and put her in that position,” Jay said. “If anyone knows Blue [...] if we told her we were gonna do something like that, you would have seen her tapping me a hundred times. She’s the kid that gets in the car and closes the door and says, ‘We there yet, Daddy?’ So she would say, ‘What time? Are we doing it?’”


But in what’s become par for the course at this point, Jay insisted that by assembling an all-star roster of performers for the Super Bowl Halftime Show through his entertainment agency, Roc Nation—in addition to premiering an Inspire Change commercial featuring Botham Jean that his company helped produce—that yes, he’s past kneeling, but not beyond collecting a check for its cause.


“We were making the biggest, loudest protest of all,” Jay said. “Given the context, I didn’t have to make a silent protest.”

Which brings me back to what I wrote last summer when his deal with the NFL was first announced:

In all, with his vague responses, political correctness and questionable motives in light of his about-face during Colin Kaepernick’s exile, Jay-Z didn’t do a particularly good job at differentiating himself from the corporate shills that we’ve historically lambasted as a community.


I said what I said.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.


Murry Chang

There were a bunch of white people around them who weren’t standing too. It wasn’t a protest thing at all, it was a ‘We’re rich people who don’t feel like standing up’ thing.

If you want to protest when you’re around a bunch of rich white people, you don’t stay seated, you do this: