The Mercury News via Getty Images
Jay Z responded to the backlash on social media after he and his family remained seated during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in Miami on Sunday.
Critics slammed Jay Z, 50, and his wife Beyonce Knowles-Carter, 39, who, along with their 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter, remained seated while Demi Lovato sang the National Anthem prior to the big game.
During a discussion Tuesday at Columbia University, Jay Z said he and his wife weren't protesting the American flag.
The "Hard Knock Life" rapper said he and his wife were in "artist mode" while watching gospel singer Yolanda Adams perform "America the Beautiful" and Lovato sing the anthem.
He claimed he was watching intently to make sure the performances went smoothly, as part of his duties with the NFL.
"I'm looking at the show. 'Did the mic start? Was it too low to start?'" he said.
"The whole time we're sitting there, we're talking about [Adams'] performance. Then right after, Demi comes out, and we're talking about how beautiful she looks and how she sounds and what she's gone through in her life for her to be on the stage," he said, before adding, "We're so proud of her."
Jay Z claimed if he and his wife were protesting, they would not have involved their daughter, Blue. "We wouldn't do that to Blue and put her in that position... If we told her we were gonna do something like that, you would've seen her tapping me a hundred times... she would say 'What time? Are we doing it? Are we doing it now? It's 7:05 daddy, are we doing it now?'"
"I didn't have to make a silent protest, the rap mogul said. "If you look at the stage, the artists that we chose, Columbian Shakira, Puerto Rican [Jennifer Lopez], we were making the biggest loudest protest of all."
The controversial protest raised eyebrows because the league gives Jay Z a big paycheck as a music producer for the Super Bowl halftime show.
The father of 5 entered into a partnership with the NFL in August. He was heavily criticized because he did not show support for blacklisted NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick mocked Jay Z and Beyonce in a social media post after the game, repeating Jay Z's comment: "We are past kneeling."
Kaepernick is still unemployed.