Most people were laughing at the video of Samuel Jackson on the CW-affiliate news show KTLA being interviewed about his new film RoboCop. Of course, the film isn’t funny, but rather, the fact that anchor Sam Rubin confused him for Laurence Fishburne–who he looks nothing like. Jackson playfully taunted Rubin and reminded him, “We don’t all look alike!” But this is something that happens all the time in entertainment and media. Black folks who you wouldn’t even think were second cousins or sometimes aren’t even the same gender (remember Idris and Alfre?) get confused for one another both on TV, in the news, and in public. Here are 10 cases that were just a little too foolish for us.
Rihanna and Ashanti
This wasn’t about a similarity in looks as much as it was about Rihanna and Beyoncé being the only singers people talk about in media. Because of this, even when they’re finally talking about someone else, like Ashanti for instance, these ladies are still on their brain. In a story by the New York Post (caught by Gawker, who we will link to a few times in this slideshow) on a stalker Ashanti was dealing with, she was referred to as “Ri Ri” in the title.
Morgan Freeman and Bill Russell
I get it. They have the same hair on their faces and heads…but no.
During President Obama’s inauguration early last year, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos mistook Bill Russell (former Boston Celtic and Hall of Fame NBA player) for actor Morgan Freeman. It was something that was joked about even on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and had heads shaking everywhere.
Keri Hilson and Mary J. Blige
Back when Keri Hilson, 31, was rocking an asymmetrical blond bob, it seems that everyone (naw, I’m just playing–just The New York Post AGAIN) confused her for Mary J. Blige, 43. For a story on Blige performing for Michael Kors during Paris Fashion Week in 2011, the Post used an image of the “Pretty Girl Rock” singer. Hilson had a good sense of humor about it all: “That NY Post mix-up is funny to me because a friend of mine joke & calls me Mary J w/my blonde hair!!”
Seal and Michael Clarke Duncan
When Michael Clarke Duncan passed away in 2012, it was bad enough that an ABC affiliate allegedly confused actor Terry Crews for him, but it made a little sense because they both did action movies. However, confusing Seal for Michael Clarke Duncan? Epic fail.
Bob Johnson and John H. Johnson
Okay, last mention of the issue The New York Post has with stories about famous black people. Gawker was once again behind finding this flub, where Bob Johnson, the man originally behind BET, was confused for John H. Johnson, the original editor of Ebony magazine. The article criticized former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers of being something of a traitor for going to work as CEO of Ebony because “her new boss, Bob Johnson, who also founded Black Entertainment Television, was one of Obama’s harshest critics.”
Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington and Thandie Newton
I can kind of see Saldana looking somewhat like Thandie Newton, but Kerry Washington? Not at all. But that’s exactly who people confuse her for when they see her on the street, according to the Avatar actress:
“I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll have people go, ‘Hey Thandie Newton!’ It’s like, ‘Oh my god, your show on TV is amazing, Ms. Washington.’ It humbles you.”
Halle Berry, Janet Jackson and Toni Braxton
Halle Berry can relate to Zoe Saldana’s struggle. During an interview with Wendy Williams last year, she said that people mistake her for two very famous singers:
“Toni Braxton when I have short hair, Janet Jackson when I have long hair.”
NeNe Leakes and Mary J. Blige
This blond hair thing is really getting white folks confused. While she was moving through the airport, a TMZ paparazzo tried to ask NeNe questions, but he was under the impression that she was the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul instead when she wouldn’t answer them. NeNe’s expression showed that she was NOT having it.
Yvette Nicole Brown and Octavia Spencer
I’m still not 100 percent sure what would make someone confuse Yvette Nicole Brown’s face with Octavia Spencer’s, but on Watch What Happens Live in 2012, a person calling in to ask questions tried it. She asked Brown what it was like working on The Help, and Brown politely told her that she had the wrong black actress: “I will tell Octavia that you loved her in The Help.” Once homegirl confused Brown for the wrong person, Andy Cohen and co. hung up the phone with the quickness!
Sherri Shepherd and Star Jones
Know who else gets mistaken for Octavia Spencer? The View co-host Sherri Shepherd. But when she’s not being confused for her, she’s being mistaken for former The View co-host, Star Jones. She told Wendy Williams in an interview in 2012 that a DJ in a restaurant in Harlem shouted her out…as Star Jones (start the video at 2:10).