A can of backlash worms was opened after the Carters sat down during the national anthem at the 2020 Super Bowl. It was opened by a bunch of racists.
Over the past weekend, power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z were highly criticized for remaining seated while pop icon Demi Lovato sang The Star-Spangled Banner before the 2020 NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show kicked off. Opinions quickly came flooding in from Twitter users as well as notable celebrities. Though several other attendees can be seen sitting down, it was the highly successful Black couple that made news headlines - and we couldn't possibly know why. (Please recognize the sarcasm.)
When Jay-Z's company Roc Nation partnered with the NFL to organize events and promote social activism last year, he received immense backlash. After all, the American public cannot forget the protests that rocked our nation. When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick infamously decided to take a knee to protest police brutality in the United States, a lot of people had a lot of opinions (some deeply unwarranted). While many praised the move, others insisted that politics belonged off the field. Nonetheless, Kaepernick persisted. This, unfortunately, lead to his eventual dismissal from the football team.
So was the couple's choice to sit a way to let Kaepernick know they're still batting for his team? Maybe. Neither Beyoncé nor Jay-Z have confirmed or denied anything, choosing instead to remain silent. However, Jay-Z did state in an interview with The New York Times after Roc Nation's partnership with the NFL went public, "We are two adult men who disagree on the tactic, but are marching for the same cause... As long as real people are being hurt and marginalized and losing family members, then yes, I can take a couple of rounds of negative press." So perhaps the Carters are just grinning and bearing it for another round.
But that doesn't mean it's okay. As soon as footage of the couple went live, right-wing "journalist" Tomi Lahren posted to Twitter, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z (former crack dealer) sit for the national anthem because apparently the United States of America has oppressed them with millions upon millions of dollars and fans. Sounds rough. Maybe they should try another country that allows them a little more freedom and success?" What she doesn't talk about are the dozens of White people seated alongside Beyoncé and Jay-Z. And why even mention "former crack dealer" in your tweet? Just say you're racist and go.
Much of the criticism that has bubbled to the top had similar racist undertones. For example, school safety activist Andrew Pollack posted, "While thousands of proud Americans stood in allegiance for the national anthem, Jay-Z and Beyoncé sat in silence. America has no place for unpatriotic scum like these two. Kick them and Colin Kaepernick right down to Mexico!" If that doesn't scream "white supremacist," we don't know what does. Thankfully, the United States isn't run by a fascist dictator (just yet), which means citizens are free to stand, sit, or kneel during the national anthem. Whether it was the Carters' form of dissent or not, one thing is clear: criticizing only the wealthy, powerful Black couple in a sea of White folks is racist, folks.