“It must have been horribly embarrassing for them, I mean they must have many people working on a show like that [the Piers Morgan show],” Ikenna Amaechi told The Local.
Speaking on the phone from New York, he said he had never been busier. “My phone has been red hot the whole time, with calls from around the world asking about this. It’s amazing what a reaction there has been.
“The first thing I thought was what an awful mistake to make. I watch the Piers Morgan show sometimes and because I knew he was going to be talking with LL Cool J about last February when she died, I recorded it and decided to watch. There were five pictures of Whitney there, but the third one was actually me.
“I didn’t even notice at first, but then I thought, hang on… And I thought, I don’t drink or take drugs, perhaps I’m having a stroke. I couldn’t believe it.
“The second thing I thought was what would her family think? And then my mother said, ‘Even in heaven Whitney has a sense of humour, look what she has done for you.’”
Amaechi, whose father is Nigerian, and who spent part of his childhood in Nigeria, said the stormy reaction there illustrated the terrible situation in the country for gays and transvestites.
“You can be imprisoned for 14 years there if you are found to be gay. It is a very religious country. I come from the south which is Christian but very, very religious. Of course the reaction there was very negative.”
He said he wanted to take his new-found fame to small gay pride marches and festivals around Germany and elsewhere. “I’m going to be in Ulm at the pride event there soon – it is important to support small events,” he said.
The mix-up was of course the highest complement – Amaechi happily displays an image of himself on CNN, captioned as his great heroine.
“I am her number one fan, of course it’s the best compliment an impersonator can have,” he said.