Stephen A. Smith apologizes to Rihanna for Beyoncé comparability

ESPN sports activities commentator Stephen A. Smith, who makes a residing from giving scorching takes, is backtracking after his dig at pop musician Rihanna shortly riled followers.

Throughout a Wednesday look on Sherri Shepherd’s Fox daytime speak present, Smith was requested about Rihanna’s upcoming Tremendous Bowl halftime present.

“Ladies and gentlemen, she’s a lot of things — she’s spectacular, actually — and congratulations on new mama-hood,” Smith stated of the Fenty founder, earlier than pausing and drawing applause from the group. “There’s one thing she’s not: She ain’t Beyoncé.”

The gang erupted right into a wave of groans and boos, with sparse cheers.

“We know she’s not Beyoncé,” Shepherd responded, asking the group to “hold up.” After Smith tried to make clear by mentioning Beyoncé’s earlier Tremendous Bowl performances, Shepherd stated, “Beyoncé performed, but she’s had her time. Now it’s Rihanna.”

After intense response on-line, Smith posted an apology video to his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, first reported by TMZ, the place he stated he “meant it as no disrespect.” He known as Rihanna “phenomenal” and “a sister” and stated she’s “gonna be great” throughout the efficiency on Feb. 12.

“I want Rihanna to know you’re a superstar, you’re sensational, you’re spectacular. You’re no joke, and you are a worthy person to be doing Super Bowl halftime show,” stated Smith, who captioned his Twitter mea culpa, “Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful!”

Even so, Smith spent a lot of the three-minute video praising Beyoncé, calling her “the greatest performer out there today.” He topped her pair of Tremendous Bowl halftime present performances — first in 2013, alongside her former Future’s Baby bandmates, after which a shock look in 2016 — “two of the greatest shows that I’ve ever seen.”

The NFL introduced Rihanna’s Tremendous Bowl LVII efficiency in September. Greater than six years for the reason that launch of her final album, “Anti,” the announcement prompted lots of her followers to take a position {that a} new album was on the way in which. A month later, Rihanna dropped “Lift Me Up” for the brand new “Black Panther” movie, her first single as a lead artist since 2016.

Smith’s unique apology tweet on Wednesday included a jab at Rihanna’s fan base, often known as the Rihanna Navy, calling them “worse than” Beyoncé’s Beyhive. That tweet, which Smith blamed on “an overzealous member” of his administration workforce, was shortly deleted.

The Rihanna Navy had been roasting Smith on-line all afternoon since experiences started to flow into about his feedback on “Sherri.”

“Shoulda kept his mouth closed cuz nobody wanted to hear that take,” stated one user.

One other stated the take was “unnecessary” and begged Smith to “let Robyn shine,” referring to Rihanna’s delivery identify, Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Popular culture journalist Shar Jossell known as the take “tacky.

Many requested why Smith needed to compare the two female artists in any respect, blaming him for attempting to create avoidable battle.

“It’s a pretty sad comment to make comparing two black female musicians who are completely different both performance wise and musically,” wrote a person behind a Rihanna fan account. “The comparison doesn’t even make sense because y’all are stuck in the 2009 … when they both did rnb. Grow up.”

In recent times, Smith additionally has apologized to the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for saying the athlete isn’t one of the best star for Main League Baseball as a result of he doesn’t communicate fluent English. And in 2014, he walked again his feedback that appeared to put blame on victims of home violence.