Last updated on 3 August 2017
Iman Crosson (born March 27, 1982), better known by his stage name Alphacat, is an American actor, impressionist and YouTube personality and is known for his impersonations of former U.S. President Barack Obama and his starring role in independent film Along the Roadside.
YouTube and Barack Obama impressions
On December 14, 2005, a 23-year-old Crosson opened a YouTube account with screen name Alphacat. In July 2008, at the urging of his fellow waiters Crosson created spoof videos of then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama.
During the summer of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election campaign, Crosson's 30-second video won Denny's Restaurant's nationwide contest for the best impressionist of the then-candidate Barack Obama. He said that he "went from unemployed to self-employed in literally a matter of a month." Crosson moved from New York to California, obtained an agent specializing in helping talent cross over from online to mainstream, and was invited to be on America's Got Talent.
On YouTube, Crosson specialized in mashing up his Obama impersonations with hip-hop songs, his spoofs of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and T.I.'s "Whatever I Like" being viewed 20 million times each.
After Obama's January 2009 inauguration, Crosson was featured on several entertainment and news television shows, blogs and newspapers. Crosson was called a "YouTube sensation" by Fox News' Neil Cavuto.
Crosson's post-inaugural work included voice-overs in Newsweek's The District, a video series in which Crosson narrated Obama's first months in Washington from the President's point of view. Crosson impersonated Obama at the 66th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner on March 17, 2010.
Crosson was among YouTube content creators who met at the White House in February 2014 with U.S. President Obama to start a dialogue about health insurance awareness and enrollment, as well as anti-bullying, education, and economic opportunity.
In October 2012, Crosson performed as Obama in the YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History in the "Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney" episode, the music single of which was certified gold by the RIAA. Additionally, Crosson appeared as President Broccoli Obama in an episode of The Annoying Orange.
In December 2013, Crosson contributed to an Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") health care exchange's "Tell a friend – Get covered" social media campaign for raising awareness among young Americans to enroll in Obamacare-compliant health insurance, by releasing a video spoof of Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot."
In February 2014, YouTube content creators including Crosson met with U.S. President Obama at the White House to discuss ways in which government could connect with the content creators' viewers, concerning awareness of and enrollment in health insurance policies and other issues.
On May 28, 2014 Crosson as well as other YouTubers and Viners, Andrew Bachelor (King Bach) and DeStorm Power appeared in will.i.am's Vine music video for It's My Birthday ft. Cody Wise.
Crosson played the male lead role in the independent film Along the Roadside with supporting actor Michael Madsen, the film debuting at the February 2013 FEST with its commercial release on March 17, 2015.
Crosson played U.S. President Barack Obama in the 2016 Bollywood comedy sequel, Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive, which was filmed in Mumbai, India.
- ^ a b Dziemianowicz, Joe, "Obama's YouTube impersonator is a changer to almost believe in", (includes interview) Politics section, nydailynews.com, January 15, 2009 (Archived 2010-07-23 at WebCite).
- ^ Denny's press release of August 28, 2008, entitled "Americans Select Best Presidential Posers, Denny's 'Vote For Real' Contest Names Best Impersonators" (WebCite archive).
- ^ Wan, William (July 1, 2016). "Hail to the chief impersonators: Obama's top doppelgangers reflect on playing POTUS". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 9, 2016.
- ^ "Hello, Mr. President? (Dancing Obama impersonator turning into huge YouTube hit)" video (WebCite archive) of Neil Cavuto interviewing Crosson on foxnews.com, February 2, 2009.
- ^ "The District Ep. 1 The Challenges We Face - Newsweek.com" video (WebCite archive) which aired on newsweek.com on February 2, 2009, and was posted on YouTube's "NewsweekVideo" channel (WebCite archive) on February 4, 2009. The word "District" refers to the District of Columbia (DC), the U.S. capital. The District season finale "'The District' | Ep. 9 | Season Finale -- video.newsweek.com" (WebCite archive) aired on March 30, 2009.
- ^ Broadcast live on C-SPAN2, recorded on cspan.org at "66th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner" , March 17, 2010 (Crosson's spot begins about 39 minutes into the video, after Vice President Joe Biden). Video embedded with program listing at: Velinska, Ellie, "Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner 2010 (Video)"( Archived 2010-10-18 at WebCite), March 18, 2010, publication of March 17, 2010, performance. Also, Gavin, Patrick, "Team '12: Obama Girl, Alphacat" (Archived 2012-02-15 at WebCite), Politico, February 14, 2012.
- ^ a b Jenkins, Brad L. (March 6, 2014). "YouTube Stars Talk Health Care (and Make History) at the White House". Washington, D.C.: WhiteHouse.gov. Archived from the original on March 7, 2014.
- ^ Pham, Alex (August 1, 2013). "Maker Studio's Epic Rap Battles Scores RIAA Gold". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013.
- ^ Gutelle, Sam (October 19, 2012). "Annoying Orange Gets Political With 'Kitchen Decision 2012'". Tubefilter. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- ^ Reston, Maeve (December 12, 2013). "Round 2: Obamacare and Hollywood open new social media campaign". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013.
- ^ Cohen, Joshua (March 2, 2014). "Obama Meets With YouTube Advisors On How To Reach Online Audiences". Tubefilter. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014.
- ^ Rizzo, Lisa, "Producer of new indie film tied to Cal Poly" ( Archived 2012-11-23 at WebCite), CalCoastNews, November 23, 2012.
Metakwon Filmworks website, Belgrade Film Festival ("FEST") website (film title translated as Pored Puta), and article in Story.rs (2013-02-28).
- ^ Albaciete, Alvin (February 15, 2016). "'Tere bin Laden: Dead or Alive' update: Iman Crosson plays US President Barack Obama". Movie News Guide. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016.
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