Photo: Getty
  /  01.19.2023

Stephen A. Smith has apologized to Rihanna after receiving backlash for saying, “She ain’t Beyoncé” ahead of her highly anticipated Super Bowl LVII halftime performance.

As previously reported by REVOLT, during an appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show yesterday (Jan. 18), Smith was asked about Rihanna’s upcoming performance. “Ladies and gentlemen, she’s a lot of things,” he began. “She’s spectacular, actually, and congratulations on new mamahood. There’s one thing she’s not — she ain’t Beyoncé.” The sports TV personality added, “The only reason I brought up Beyoncé is because Beyoncé recently performed at the Super Bowl, with and without Bruno Mars and Coldplay.”

“I like television,” he continued. “I like a lot of talent out there. There’s some spectacular females in television, I just want to say that. Everybody ain’t Sherri. That’s not throwing [shade] on them. That’s appreciating their greatness but understanding there’s levels!”

Later that afternoon, Smith posted an apology video to his Twitter account. In the three-minute clip, he claimed that he “meant it as no disrespect.” He called Rihanna “phenomenal” and “a sister” and said that she is “gonna be great” for her show 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,” Smith said. He then captioned the video, “Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful!”

In follow-up tweets, the 55-year-old added, “Horrific mistake. Something that was suppose to be a fun moment on the Sherri Shepherd show has gotten out of hand. An overzealous member on my MGMT team — which has access to my account — posted something I would NEVER say about @rihanna, her fans or any other artist.”

“The post has been removed. My social management team will never make a mistake like this again. My apologies again to @rihanna. And just to be clear, I’m a huge fan. Sherri and I were just having fun. That is all,” he concluded.

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