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Mindy Kaling is not Malala: 15 celebrities of color mistaken for people they look nothing like

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Mindy Kaling is an American comedian, actress and writer with her own Fox sitcom The Mindy Project. She is 35 years old. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani women’s rights and human rights activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban, survived and became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She is 17. Yet, apparently Kaling was mistaken for Malala at a New Yorker Festival after party in New York City’s Boom Boom Room. The New York Times revealed that  “a tipsy man in his 80s came up to Kaling and gushed: “Congratulations on your Nobel Prize.” I mean, the two look nothing alike, have an age gap by nearly 20 years and one of them wears a head scarf. But at the end of the day, they are both brown so easy mistake. Sadly, this is hardly the only time people of color who look nothing alike are mistaken for each other. Let’s take a look at eight other times people were unable to tell the difference between celebrities who have nothing in common besides their ethnicity (that we know of).

1. Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne: during an interview back in February, KTLA entertainment reporter asked Samuel L. Jackson about his Super Bowl commercial. It may have been a good question… if it had been posed to the person who had actually starred in said commercial, Laurence Fishburne. Jackson unloaded on the reporter in an epic rant that turned into a viral video:

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“Oh hell no… There’s more than one black guy doing commercials. I’m the ‘What’s in your wallet?’ black guy. [Fishburne’s] the car black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit card black guy. You only hear his voice though, so you probably won’t confuse him with Laurence Fishburne.”

2. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer: E! confused actresses Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer when they wrote Viola Davis in lower thirds under footage of Spencer, during its “E! Live From the Red Carpet” pre-Oscar special in 2013.

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3. Sherri Shepherd and  Octavia Spencer: speaking of Spencer, she and former The View co-host Sherri Shepherd get confused so frequently, Octavia tweeted “Dear Hollywood: Sherri Shepherd And Octavia Spencer Are Not The Same Person but we are dear friends, LOL.”

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4. Morgan Freeman and Bill Russell: while covering President Obama’s 2013 inauguration, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News thought he spotted actor Morgan Freeman in the crowd. Close. But it was actually NBA legend Bill Russell. Whatever. Close enough.

5. Seal and Michael Clarke Duncan: when Michael Clarke Duncan, the actor of Green Mile fame, died in 2012, US TV station WGRZ showed photos of the singer Seal. I mean, in all fairness, it’s not like Seal has any distinguishing marks. Except for those scars on his face and scalp, which people love to attribute to a tribal ritual but are actually due to a disease called discoid lupus erythematosus.

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6. Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek: when the official Instagram account for the Academy Awards posted a photo of Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro backstage, they did what any responsible social media presence would do: wrote “Hayek and De Niro prepping backstage #Oscars.” At least they got the hashtag right. Of course Cruz is Spanish, not even Latina, not that anyone knows the difference anyway and Hayek is Mexican (and of Mexican and Lebanese heritage). But they both speak Spanish. So, there you go.

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7. Alfre Woodard and Idris Elba: if I were Armani’s social media team, I would definitely show off on Instagram how good actress Alfre Woodard looked in an Armani dress. But I probably would have labeled it “Alfre Woodard posing in a gorgeous Giorgio @armani dress at the 5th Annual Governors Awards,” instead of say, “Idris Elba posing in a gorgeous Giorgio @armani dress at the 5th Annual Governors Awards,” which they did. Now, don’t get me wrong. British actor Idris Elba is stunning. But he’s a dude. And he happens to look nothing like Woodard.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Chelsea Handler comes to Joe Biden’s defense during Real Time appearance with Bill Maher

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Comedian Chelsey Handler defended former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, during an appearance on HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher.

"I have to know what you think of Joe Biden and that whole thing," Maher said.

"I think Joe Biden is just a grandfather, you know what I mean? And he's old," Handler replied.

"I don't like comparing -- I don't like these stories of these women coming out and talking about a man smelling their hair or kissing the back of their head," she continued.

"I think it diminishes people who have actually experienced bullsh*t," Hander said.

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Whether a sitting president can be indicted should be reexamined: former federal prosecutor

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Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner has reached a point that he thinks the policy of not indicting a sitting president should be readjusted for modern times.

In a PoliticsNation panel discussion, focused on Rep. Jerry Nadler's (D-NY) suggestion that he would be requesting documents from at least 60 people connected to President Donald Trump as part of broadening the investigation into possible crimes committed while running for office or while president.

"He has got legal exposure on so many fronts," said Kirschner. "Whether it is his fake charitable organization, his continuing criminal enterprise of the Trump Organization, whether it is an inauguration run amok, it looks like, taking illegal, foreign donations and doling out or promising goodness knows what to those people who donated. And it's his presidency."

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‘Only a wimp does this’: Ex-Pentagon chief of staff rips Trump’s ‘weak’ and cowardly dismissal of Tillerson

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A former top official at the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency explained how President Donald Trump displayed weakness to the world by the manner in which former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired.

"The more waves the president makes, the more we wonder if at least in part he's hoping to take back the news cycle from, for example, his sex scandal involving porn star Stormy Daniels," MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace noted. "I don't know what you call it when the lawyer for the porn star sounds more reasonable than the President of the United States."

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