Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the European premiere of Disney's "The Lion...

Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the European premiere of Disney's "The Lion King" on July 14, 2019, in London.  Credit: Getty Images for Disney / Gareth Cattermole

Music mogul Jay-Z says that he, his music-star wife Beyoncé and their 8-year-old daughter Blue, did not intend their sitting through the national anthem at Sunday's Super Bowl to be seen as a protest of social injustice.

"It actually wasn't. Sorry for that," he said, prompting audience laughter, during an onstage interview Tuesday at Columbia University to launch the school's Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter Lecture Series. that day posted an audience member's video of the star replying to moderator Jelani Cobb.

"It was not intended at all" as a protest, said the rapper, producer and entrepreneur, 50, whom Forbes last year called hip-hop's first billionaire. Through his conglomerate Roc Nation, Jay-Z was a producer of the Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show, starring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.

If it had been meant as a protest, he continued, "I would say, 'Yes, that's what I've done.' I think people know that about me."

Jay-Z explained, "So we get there, and we immediately jump into artist mode. … So I'm looking at the show: 'Did the mic start? Did it — was it too low to start?' We had to watch the sound, because the sound is done for TV. … And I'm like, 'Well, there are too many speakers on the floor. They should all be up here.' And I'm looking at the iPad, and I'm like, 'There's too many cutaways from Yolanda [Adams, who sang "America the Beautiful" during pregame festivities]. I want to see the players, but I definitely want to see if she hits that last note.' It was beautiful and they missed it. So the whole time we're sitting there, we're talking about the performance."

He added of the couple's daughter, "Blue was right next to us. We wouldn't do that to Blue, to put her in that position."

Jay-Z concluded, "I didn't have to make a silent protest. If you look at the stage, the artists that we chose, whether it be Colombian Shak[ira] or Puerto Rican J. Lo, we were making a louder stand" than a silent protest would have. "We were making the biggest, loudest protest of all. Given the context, I didn't have to make a silent protest."

A video posted by TMZ Sunday had shown the family in a box-seat section while Demi Lovato sang the national anthem. An older woman and her companion seated nearby also are not standing, though most spectators are.

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