AceShowbiz - Stephen A. Smith has been forced to make an apology after appearing to throw shade at Rihanna. The sports journalist came under fire after he compared the Barbadian singer to another singing diva, saying Rih is not Beyonce Knowles.
While it's true in a literal sense, Stephen's comments didn't sit well with the Navy and the backlash was swift, prompting him to come up with an explanation. So he took to his Instagram page to upload a video in which he clarified his initial statements.
"I'm gonna own it," the 55-year-old began in the clip, which he recorded in a car. "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."
Stephen claimed the only reason he said it was because he thinks that Beyonce's Super Bowl show was one of the best performances he has ever seen, so anyone who follows in the footsteps will "have to measure up to that." He added, "I meant it as no disrespect to Rihanna. I know she's phenomenal and she's my sister. Nothing but love for her, but Beyonce is my sister, too."
He ended his apology by saying he knows Rihanna will do her thing next month and he's looking forward to it. He realized that he needs "to be more careful" when he speaks because his words can get twisted, before admitting, "My bad on that."
Stephen made the controversial remarks when appearing on "The Sherri Show" on Wednesday, January 18. When Sherri Shepherd asked if he's excited for Rihanna's upcoming Super Bowl show, he responded, "I don't wanna say I'm not excited. She's fantastic," but "she ain't Beyonce."
He elaborated, "That's not where I'm going with this. Ladies and gentlemen, she's a lot of things. She's spectacular, actually. And congratulations on new momma-hood. There's one thing she's not: She ain't Beyonce."
After the audience responded with a loud boo, the 55-year-old claimed that it's not a shade at Rihanna. "Rihanna's music is fantastic. She's great. She's a sister. I love her dearly. I listen to her music. I'm gonna support her until the cows come home," he added. "I'm just telling you. For me, there's Beyonce and there's everybody else. Just like there was Michael Jackson and there's everybody else."
"She's gonna be good. She can't be bad," Stephen continued, adding that he's simply a big fan of Beyonce. "She's too great not to be good. I'm just saying Beyonce spoiled me."
Stephen went on comparing the situation to Sherri as a talk show host. "I like television," he explained. "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 shading on them. That's appreciating their greatness but understanding, there's levels!"
Despite his immediate explanation on the show, Stephen was slammed by social media users for pitting Rihanna against Beyonce. "What was the point of the @rihanna & @Beyonce comparison?!! @stephenasmith," one Twitter user asked.
Another reacted, "Lmaoff @rihanna isn't trying to be Beyonce Mr Stephen A Smith." A third similarly remarked, "No, she isn't, and we're thankful. She's Robyn Rihanna Fenty." Someone chimed in, "Obviously she isn't. So what was the point of even mentioning her? I'm going to need him to stick to talking about sports."