Rihanna received an apology from Stephen A. Smith after he said he would prefer to see Beyonce headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year.
As announced last September, Rihanna will return live on February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. The singer previously called this event “an artist’s dream.”
Rihanna shared the official teaser of her upcoming Halftime Show last Friday (January 13).
Yesterday (January 18), during an appearance on the American daytime talk show “Sherry”, ESPN sports commentator Smith said: “I don’t want to say that I’m not excited. [Rihanna] is fantastic. That’s not what I’m going for.
“Ladies and gentlemen, she has a lot of things. She’s spectacular, actually. And congratulations on the new mom. There is one thing she is not: she’s not Beyonce.”
The last remark was met with groans from the studio audience. —Wait,— Smith said. “The only reason I mentioned Beyonce is because Beyonce recently performed at the Super Bowl.”
Bey headlined the event in 2013, where she reunited on stage with Destiny’s Child, and three years later returned to perform alongside Coldplay and special guests including Bruno Mars.
On Twitter after his interview with Sherry Smith posted a three-minute video with the title: “Apologies to Rihanna for my words, you need to be careful!”
In the clip (via HipHopDX) he said: “I just came out of [the sports TV show] First Take and saw a headline circulating everywhere about my quote that Rihanna is not Beyonce.
“See, I will own it. I know what you’re trying to do, but I’m going to own this because I get paid to talk, so I need to be more careful.”
Smith continued: “I want Rihanna to know: you’re a superstar. You’re sensational. You’re spectacular. You’re not a joke. And you are a worthy person to participate in the show during the halftime of the Super Bowl.”
The expert went on to say that he was just “answering Sherry Shepherd’s question,” adding: “Now I’m a Beyonce fan. I think Beyonce is not only a phenomenal performer, a phenomenal performer.”
Apologies to Rihanna for my words, gotta be more careful! pic.twitter.com/RLcsaQAJ4v
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 18, 2023
Smith described Bay’s Super Bowl performances as “two of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen” and that the headliners who follow them “have to live up to that.”
“I didn’t mean disrespect to Rihanna. I know she’s phenomenal,” he explained. “And she’s my sister. Nothing but love for her. But Beyonce is also my sister! I have love for both of them.
“I just think Beyonce is the best performer to date. It’s me! It doesn’t mean I hate anyone else. That doesn’t mean I’m damn sure I want Rihanna to fail. I don’t believe it will fail. It will be great! I’m just saying I’m a Beyonce fan. That’s all. That’s it.”
Smith concluded the video by apologizing to Rihanna once again: “Good luck, honey. I’m looking forward to your performance at halftime of the Super Bowl. You know you have to turn it out. And I believe you will! All the best for you.”
You can watch the full clip in the tweet above.
Rihanna was offered to head the Halftime Show 2019. However, she turned down the opportunity to show solidarity with former San Francisco Fort Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who became the first NFL player to kneel in protest of police brutality in 2016.
Last year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show was headlined by Dr. Dre with special guest performers Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Mary J. Blige.