The rapper addressed the backlash during a lecture series Q&A at Columbia University on Tuesday night. Jay-Z—who co-produced this year's halftime show and is a partner of the NFL—denied that by not standing up for Demi Lovato's performance, he and Bey were making a subtle political statement.
"It actually wasn't—sorry," Jay-Z said, according to Page Six. If he had been sending a message, Jay explained, "I'd tell you... I'd say, ‘Yes, that's what I've done.' I think people know that about me."
As he described it, "What happened was, 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. 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."