ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith apologizes to Rihanna for saying ‘she ain’t Beyoncé’

Stephen A. Smith, a sports commentator from ESPN, who makes a living by giving hot takes, quickly angered fans after backtracking on his dig at pop musician Rihanna.

During his appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s Fox daytime talk show on Wednesday, Smith was asked about Rihanna’s upcoming performance at the halftime show of the Super Bowl.

“She is not Beyoncé,” Smith declared about the Fenty founder, causing a momentary pause and eliciting applause from the audience. “Furthermore, I extend my congratulations on her recent journey into motherhood,” she is truly remarkable, in fact — she embodies numerous admirable qualities, ladies and gentlemen.”

The audience burst into a wave of groans and boos, with occasional cheers.

Rihanna has now performed, but Beyoncé said that it’s her time to perform now. Shepherd tried to clarify by mentioning Beyoncé’s previous Super Bowl performances. After Smith asked to hold up the crowd, Shepherd responded by saying, “We don’t know if Beyoncé is performing or not.”

During the performance on Feb. 12, he expressed that she will be “excellent” and referred to Rihanna as “extraordinary” and “like a family member.” Initially disclosed by TMZ, Smith uploaded a video of apology to his Twitter profile on Wednesday afternoon following a strong online response, clarifying that he “did not intend to show any disrespect.”

Smith, who posted his apology on Twitter, stated, “I am sorry to Rihanna for my remarks, I need to be more cautious!” “You are not to be underestimated, and you are a deserving individual to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show,” “I want Rihanna to understand that you are a megastar, you are extraordinary, you are remarkable.

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“He declared her duo of Super Bowl halftime show performances, which I consider as two of the most remarkable shows I have ever witnessed. The first one took place in 2013, where she performed alongside her former bandmates from Destiny’s Child. She then made a surprising appearance in 2016. Smith, in a three-minute video, hailed her as “the most exceptional entertainer of our time,” showering her with compliments.”

In September, the NFL revealed Rihanna’s upcoming performance at Super Bowl LVII. This announcement sparked speculation among many of her fans that a new album was in the works. Following this, a month later, Rihanna released “Lift Me Up,” her first single as a lead artist since 2016, for the soundtrack of the new “Black Panther” movie. It has been over six years since her last album, “Anti,” was released.

Smith blamed a member of his team management for quickly deleting a tweet, in which he called Beyoncé’s Beyhive “worse than them,” including a jab at Rihanna’s Navy, known as Rihanna’s fan base, in his original apology tweet on Wednesday.

The Rihanna fan base had been criticizing Smith online all afternoon since reports started to circulate about his remarks on “Sherri.”.

“He should have stayed quiet because nobody wanted to hear that opinion,” said one user.

“Jossell Shar, a journalist known for her expertise in pop culture, referred to Rihanna, whose birth name is Robyn Fenty, as ‘tacky’. Will Smith, in his plea, urged her to ‘let Rihanna shine’, while stating that the take was ‘unnecessary’. Another individual also made similar remarks.”

Many questioned why Smith needed to compare the two female artists in any way, criticizing him for attempting to generate unnecessary tension.

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