Stephen A. Smith might have no problem going toe to toe with athletes, current and former, but now he might have to take on Rihanna’s fan base.

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The 55-year-old sports commentator recently shared his thoughts on Rihanna’s upcoming Super Bowl LVII performance while visiting Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show Sherri. While he said he was excited about her performance, he made sure to stir the pot, saying that the Barbadian pop star is no Beyoncé.

“I don’t wanna say I’m not excited,” he said in response, with the ensuing moments including audible reactions from the audience. “She’s fantastic. 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 Beyoncé.”


He elaborated on his statement, saying, “Hold on. … The only reason I brought up Beyoncé is because Beyoncé recently performed at the Super Bowl, with and without Bruno Mars and Coldplay,”

Sherri pushed back, saying Beyoncé had her time, and now it’s Rihanna’s time to perform at a Super Bowl. Stephen A. Smith, however, applied Sherri’s argument to television, saying Shepherd was in a league of her own and then there’s “everybody else.” Likewise, he believes that Beyoncé is in a league of her own, then there’s everybody else.

“Rihanna’s music is fantastic,” Smith said. “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. I’m just telling you: for me, there’s Beyoncé and there’s everybody else. Just like there was Michael Jackson and there’s everybody else.” 

You can watch Stephen A. Smith’s full remarks below.