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You might think that during a serious interview about the fabulous life of Whitney Houston, you would know that she is not a 5’9″ German guy, but apparently CNN does not. During an interview with LL Cool J about the life of Whitney Houston, Piers Morgan aired generic footage that they thought was Houston, but was not.
Instead, the footage featured a drag queen by the name of Ikenna Beney Amaechi. Amaechi makes his living imitating Whitney Houston, but never thought he’d be on CNN during a serious conversation about Houston’s life.
“I was just sitting at home and at first I didn’t realize it, but then it hit me like BOOM! It wasn’t Whitney … It was me!” He said.
Ikenna has been imitating Houston for 21 years, and the footage is from the CNN 2008 Reel Awards Show in Las Vegas. The show is dedicated to celebrity impersonators, and there is no reason that CNN should have thought this to be real footage of Whitney Houston. Yes, drag queens can be talented, but we expect that the network would vet the footage before releasing it during a serious interview. But this is the quality of work you get when most of your producers are 22-year olds fresh out of college.
“I feel very honored that I was mistaken for the real Whitney Houston on CNN … is there EVEN a bigger compliment for a tribute artist?!” Ikenna said.
This is not the first time that CNN has famously screwed up on the air. Just last month, CNN reported that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Healthcare Act, leading the White House to believe that healthcare reform had been undermined by the court. It was only later that it turned out that the reporter on the job had been overzealous and decided to shock millions of people by giving them the wrong information. Way to go CNN, good work.