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Stephen A. Smith apologizes to Rihanna for Beyoncé comparability


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

During a Wednesday look on Sherri Shepherd’s Fox daytime discuss present, Smith was requested about Rihanna’s upcoming Super Bowl halftime present.

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

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

“We know she’s not Beyoncé,” Shepherd responded, asking the gang to “hold up.” After Smith tried to make clear by mentioning Beyoncé’s earlier Super Bowl performances, Shepherd mentioned, “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 mentioned he “meant it as no disrespect.” He known as Rihanna “phenomenal” and “a sister” and mentioned she’s “gonna be great” in the course of 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,” mentioned Smith, who captioned his Twitter mea culpa, “Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful!”

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

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The NFL introduced Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII efficiency in September. More than six years for the reason that launch of her final album, “Anti,” the announcement prompted a lot of her followers to invest {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 authentic apology tweet on Wednesday included a jab at Rihanna’s fan base, often called the Rihanna Navy, calling them “worse than” Beyoncé’s Beyhive. That tweet, which Smith blamed on “an overzealous member” of his administration crew, was shortly deleted.

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

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

Another mentioned the take was “unnecessary” and begged Smith to “let Robyn shine,” referring to Rihanna’s start identify, Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Pop tradition 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 making an attempt 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 current years, Smith additionally has apologized to the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for saying the athlete isn’t the very best star for Major League Baseball as a result of he doesn’t communicate fluent English. And in 2014, he walked again his feedback that appeared to position blame on victims of home violence.

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