News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 25, 2023: Get ready for not just one but two Caribbean heritage acts at this year’s Super Bowl.
Jamaican American Emmy-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph can now count her name as part of an already highly-anticipated Super Bowl lineup led by Barbadian born super star, Rihanna.
Ralph, whose mother was born in Jamaica, will be singing the Black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” ahead of kickoff, and anyone who watched her Emmy Award acceptance speech (or knows she was the original Deena in Dreamgirls) is positively quivering in anticipation for Super Bowl LVII.
“Come on now. Don’t you ever give up on you baby!” Lee shared via her social media. “I’ll be singing Lift Every Voice and Sing at Super Bowl LVII – See you there!”
Rihanna, born in Barbados of Barbadian and Guyanese parents, is set to take over the half-time show, giving the Caribbean roots acts and the region something else to also cheer about. Rihanna hasn’t released an album since 2016’s ANTI, but she did release two songs last year as part of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack and promptly earned her first Oscar nomination for “Lift Me Up.” (What? Nothing for Battleship?)
Little is known about RiRi’s grand return to live performance other than that it does not mean an album is coming.
The Super Bowl performances comes as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith learned a valuable lesson recently: don’t come for Rihanna unless she calls for you. The ESPN analyst became The Navy’s number 1 target after his appearance on Sherri Shepherd’s daytime talk show, where he made the bold statement, “there’s one thing she’s not, she ain’t Beyoncé.”
He went on to explain himself, saying he only brought up Bey because she performed twice at the Super Bowl, and he thought they were the most amazing performances he’s ever seen. “What I’m saying is anybody has to measure up to that.” “Michael Jackson could still be alive, and I would say he has to measure up to that,” he said passionately inside a car. “I meant it as no disrespect,” he said. “[Rihanna] You know you gotta turn it out,” Smith concluded his video.
After his apology, he went on Fox 29 to explain why he apologized, saying he had friends in Hollywood who said it was being absorbed as if he was pinning one black woman against another. “Which is not what I was doing,” he said.
His car apology video was viewed 1 million times on Twitter. It had a mix of responses like, “The man talks s**t to Cowboys fans for a living but Rihanna fans got him ready to go into witness protection lol” and, “don’t address her ever again loser.”
The Super Bowl will air live on FOX at 6:30 P.M. E.T. on February 12, 2023.