Celebrity couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé garnered attention when they remained seated during Demi Lovato’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
The couple and their daughter Blue Ivy were all seen seated while much of the surrounding crowd stood for the national anthem. The moment was caught on film and has received a viral response.
Though they were seated, Beyoncé and Jay-Z could be seen swaying along to the song.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company also recently signed an agreement with the NFL, which would allow the entertainment company to advise the selection of NFL game performers and to shape the league’s social justice messaging.
As part of the partnership, Jay-Z formed the Inspire Change initiative. The NFL initiative focuses on helping reduce barriers to opportunity in three areas of priority: education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform.
As a part of the partnership, the NFL is also sponsoring a public service announcement featuring “stories of black men and boys killed by police,” New York Times reported.
The incident comes as the NFL has seen many anthem protests in recent years, as popularized by Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest. Kaepernick’s kneeling has been characterized as a social justice protest against police brutality.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have also been politically outspoken and have interacted with Kaepernick at various events.
Beyoncé also participated in the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show, in a performance of her song “Formation.” The song has been criticized for its charged lyrics and the song’s music video includes footage of Beyoncé sinking a New Orleans police cruiser, a hooded child dancing in front of riot cops and the graffitied words, “Stop shooting us.”
Kaepernick’s protests have drawn some criticism, including from military veterans.
Despite fallout from his protest and difficulties staying with the league, Kaepernick has gone on to sign a lucrative agreement with Nike and has continued to promote social justice protests.
After President Donald Trump ordered the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Kaepernick claimed the U.S. has a history of “terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism.”