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Stephen A. Smith Apologizes Repeatedly For Rihanna Vs. Beyoncé Remark

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Screen Shot 2023 01 19 at 12.24.02 PM Stephen A. Smith Apologizes Repeatedly For Rihanna Vs. Beyoncé Remark

“There’s simply sure belongings you don’t speak about,” mentioned Sherri Shepherd on her syndicated talker in the present day. She then indicated these verboten matters are “politics, faith and Rihanna vs. Beyoncé.”

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Feedback by ESPN character Stephen A. Smith to Shepherd on that final topic yesterday ignited a firestorm of protest from not simply the Sherri studio viewers, but additionally from Rihanna’s fan base.

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Right here’s a part of what the First Take star mentioned. For context, Smith was requested for his ideas about Rhianna’s upcoming Tremendous Bowl Halftime efficiency.

I don’t need to say I’m not excited. She’s incredible. That’s not the place I’m going with this. She’s a number of issues. She’s spectacular. And congratulations on new mama hood. There’s one factor she’s not: She ain’t Beyoncé. [Audience boos] The one cause I introduced up Beyoncé is as a result of Beyoncé not too long ago carried out on the Tremendous Bowl. And with out Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

For Smith, who’s ESPN’s highest-paid character exactly due to such sizzling takes, evaluating two celebrity musicians and selecting one over the opposite doubtless appeared like good TV. However there’s a distinction between evaluating and rating performers in an inherently aggressive enviornment like sports activities and evaluating and rating performers within the extra subjective realm of leisure. Particularly when these performers are two Black girls in an trade which nonetheless struggles with racism and sexism. At present, Shepherd put her finger on a type of sizzling buttons.

“Stephen A., he’s used to being on his present First Take,” the Sherri host noticed, “and he’s used to a bunch of males. However he ain’t by no means obtained in entrance of an viewers of girls. When he did it, I used to be like ‘Oooooohhh.’ “

For his half, Smith apologized not as soon as however twice.

First, he posted a video attempting to offer context saying he would evaluate anyone who does the Tremendous Bowl halftime present to iconic performances from Beyoncé, Coldplay and Bruno Mars.

“Michael Jackson might nonetheless be alive and I’d say, ‘He’s gotta measure as much as that,’ ” contended Smith within the clip. “I’ve at all times mentioned that. I meant it as no disrespect to Rihanna. I do know she’s phenomenal, and he or she’s my sister. Nothing however love for her. However Beyoncé is my sister too. I obtained love for each of them. I simply suppose that Beyoncé is the best performer on the market in the present day.”

Simply minutes after posting that video, in a collection of tweets the ESPN character known as his TV feedback a “horrific mistake” and “one thing that was suppose [sic] to be a enjoyable second on the Sherri Shepard present has gotten out of hand.”

He continued, “My apologies once more to Rihanna. And simply to be clear, I’m an enormous fan. Sherri and I had been simply having enjoyable. That’s all.”

These posts had been considered greater than 10 million instances by noon Thursday.

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