And, according to the hip-hop mogul, it wasn’t supposed to convey a political message ahead of the Kansas City Chief’s defeat of the San Francisco 49ers.
“It actually wasn’t. Sorry. It really wasn’t,” the rapper said during the first of the “Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter Lecture Series” at Columbia University on Tuesday.
“It was not premeditated at all,” he continued, adding that TMZ — who first shared footage of the incident — “can tell you anything without speaking to me. I need to tell you, if it was me, I would say, ‘yes, that’s what I’ve done’ and I think people would know that about me.”
The power couple’s sit-down came under intense scrutiny. Many people on social media suggested it was a show of solidarity with former 49er Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling during the anthem to protest racial injustice prompted a wave of similar demonstrations and drew the ire of President Donald Trump.
But Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation co-produced the halftime show as part of its controversial partnership deal with the NFL, insisted he’d just jumped “into artist mode” and was solely focused on the quality of the sound.
Explained the artist:
So the whole time we’re sitting there, we’re talking about the performance, and then right after that, Demi comes out and we’re talking about how beautiful she looked, and how she sounds and what she’s going through and her life. For her to be on the stage, we were so proud of her. And then it finished and then my phone rang. And it was like, ‘You know you didn’t just (stand for the anthem).’ I’m like, ‘What?’
Jay-Z claimed that had there been a plan for the couple to protest, then their 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy would have given the game away by constantly asking when they were going to do it.
“We were making the biggest, loudest protest of all,” Jay-Z added, citing the performances of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, which took a swipe at the Trump White House’s immigration policies, and the airing of his commercial on social injustice. “Given the context, I didn’t have to make a silent protest,” he added.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.