Iman Crosson has made a name for himself as YouTube sensation Alphacat. The performer took advantage of his striking resemblance to Barack Obama and spoofed Jamie Foxx’s "Blame It" and Beyonce’s "Single Ladies" as the President.
Iman Crosson continues to create viral spoof videos as Barack Obama and other celebrities, and he talked with us about what inspires his funny creations.
12 Questions With Iman Crosson
1. How did you start with Alphacat and what motivates you to continue?
I started with Alphacat because I’ve always had an affinity for lions. They're my favorite animal and I think they kinda personify my personality. Plus, at the time, the screen name I wanted was taken, LOL.
What motivates me to continue is just pure desire I guess. I’ve always wanted to be an actor and performer, badly. I guess what motivates me most though is all the great, positive feedback from my fans and supporters, they are the best!
2. How significant is the topic of trend spotting to your videos on YouTube?
It’s pretty significant. I want to give people something that’s fresh and new. Things people are actually interested in and the best way to do that is to stick to things that are happening in real time.
3. How do you define a trend?
Well a trend, as typical as it sounds, to me, is something that the majority of people are asking for, searching for or paying attention to. If it’s all over TV, that's what the majority is asking for. If it’s all over radio, that’s what the people are asking for. If it’s all over the news, that’s what the majority of the people are asking for.
4. How do you define cool?
Define cool? I can’t define cool. I have haters that remind me I’m not cool all the time.
5. Do you need a culture of innovation to create something that is cool?
The inspiration for my ideas comes from life. A random moment of humor will inspire me. Like once dropping your phone in the toilet made me realize the humor in the situation and a bit of a comedic epiphany that people all over the world drop their phones in the toilet all because they can’t put their phones down for just 15 seconds. Just random observational humor like that.
6. What is the best way to create an infectious idea?
Infectious? Wow that’s deep. I guess it goes back to the whole observational humor type thing. If you create something EVERYONE can relate to, something that’s an everyday thing, even if it’s small, it gets everyone going, "Yeah, I do that too!" or, "Yeah, that IS true!"
Even with impersonating people, I like to find the tiny mannerisms that people do that everyone sees but no one has pointed out. That’s worked for me with ideas.
7. What is the key to innovation?
Key to innovation? Yikes. Honestly I think people finding themselves and understanding who they REALLY are as a person/artist is what does it. Learning what their TRUE talent is. I believe people spend a lot of time trying to be something they’re not.
I LOVE to sing, absolutely love it, but becoming a recording artist may not be my place. Someone may watch their favorite actor on TV, but becoming an actor may not be your calling no matter how cool you think it looks.
However, when you find what it is that you are REALLY good at and have a passion for…then your love for that thing and your own individual take and personality intertwined will make you innovative.
Look at Michael Jackson, all his unique moves, style, sounds... love it or laugh at it, he wasn’t TRYING to be a certain way; that was just MJ being himself 100%. You can’t become someone else and no one can be you, so no one can do what YOU do the way YOU do it.
8. What are your ambitions for your Alphacat videos?
Honestly I’d love to become one of the first Black ‘YouTubers’ in the top 10, if not #1 at some point. That would be cool.
9. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
Reset myself? Not sure. Well often I’ll just stop pressuring myself to come up with material. If I’m forcing it it’s not good, so I stop and just chill out.
10. Professionally, what do you want to be doing in 10 years?
I would love to be on the big screen, in movies. I admire Will Smith’s career. He’s had a juggernaut of a career. If I could have that kinda success, but natural to my own career, that’d be awesome.
11. What are your most important hobbies?
Listening to music. Music is everything to me. I seriously AM music. :) I have music on every second of the day.
12. What is an example of a time where you have thrown away an existing idea to force yourself to find something new?
Before posting my spoof of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ as Barack Obama, I had written a full spoof to an entirely different song (which I won’t name cause I’ll probably still use it, haha). But I got to the mic and I wasn’t completely feeling it, it felt like something was off and that’s when I remembered I’d wanted to spoof ‘Single Ladies.’
So I stopped, cut the mic off, sat down, wrote out my ‘Single Ladies’ spoof right there and then recorded that. Glad I did; that video has 12 million views now!
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Iman Crosson, YouTube Star As Alphacat (INTERVIEW)
- By: Rachel BowmanAug 26, 2009