Jay-Z says he and Beyonce were not staging a protest when they stayed seated during the US national anthem at the 2020 Super Bowl.

He says the couple were in “artist mode” when they didn’t stand while Demi Lovato sang The Star Spangled Banner.

It lead to speculation they were sending a message of support to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick who first kneeled during the anthem in 2016.

He was protesting racial injustice and has been without a team since 2017.

In a video, Jay-Z and Beyonce can be seen sitting down while others around them were standing during Demi’s performance.

But during a Columbia University lecture yesterday (Tues) – two days after the Super Bowl – the rapper insisted it “just happened”.

At the lecture, Jay-Z also explained that he produced all the musical performances at the Super Bowl as part of his deal with the NFL as its live music entertainment strategist.

He said he was also preoccupied wondering if the sound levels were too low and what the TV cameras were picking up.

Referring to Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performing the half time show, he said a “silent protest” from him was unnecessary as the diverse group of performers was “the biggest, loudest protest of all”.