During Demi Lovato’s stellar performance, both musicians were seen chilling in their seats. People around them, including their own security guard, stood for the song. Their choice to remain seated quickly made headlines, as JAY-Z recently partnered with the NFL to become the league’s “live music entertainment strategist” and help with social justice campaigns. That deal drew criticism from Kaepernick’s partner, Nessa Diab, and led to the quarter back’s attorney to accuse him of “cross[ing] the intellectual picket line.”
The hip-hop mogul has defended himself against such comments, saying partnering with the NFL was “the next phase” after Kaepernick’s mission. Still, seeing the Carters help the NFL profit but sit during the anthem in protest feels like a bit of a mixed message.
Meanwhile, instead of watching his former team lose to the Chiefs, the onetime 49er spent his Super Bowl Sunday volunteering at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. Later, when he heard about the JAY-Z and Beyoncé news, he took to Instagram to question their motives.
It all started when Miko Grimes, wife of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Brent Grimes and frequent NFL critic, posted a screenshot of the couple on her Instagram, notes Complex. Grimes’ post featured the image, the headline, a thinking Memoji, and a question: “I thought we were ‘past kneeling’ tho?” That quote is a reference to JAY-Z’s own comments at the press conference announcing his NFL deal. “I think we’ve moved past kneeling,” he said at the time. “I think it’s time to go on to actionable items.”
Both Kaepernick and his partner, Nessa Diab, reposted her story on their individual Instagrams. Find screenshots below.
So far, there’s no word from JAY or Bey about why they chose to sit during the National Anthem, if they’ve talked to Kaepernick lately, or how JAY-Z’s work with the NFL is helping take action in the name of Black Lives Matter. In fact, JAY-Z hasn’t even answered his own question he posed a while back: “What do we do now?”
Of course, other artists have made their own statements about the Super Bowl and what it stands for. Rihanna turned down an offer to headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, however, took the offer up — and they pulled out all the stops to make the most of the position they were given by representing their communities. Hopefully JAY-Z was taking notes.