Do you know who you’re listening to? – By Mike Thomas – Staff Reporter

Being Diana Ross isn’t easy. Especially if you aren’t Diana Ross. Most especially if you’re a man living as a woman trying to impersonate Diana Ross.

But longtime Baton Show Lounge star Sheri Payne pulls it off.

“I was sitting in my room one day and my co-worker Monica was saying, ‘Why don’t you do Diana Ross?’ ” Payne recalls while putting on her (actually, Ross’) face shortly before the first of three 90-minute performances on a recent Wednesday evening. “I said, ‘I don’t even have a Diana Ross costume.’ So I just put on a black gown and a big ol’ nappy wig one day and she said, ‘My God, you could’ve been making money on this for years.’ “

And so she has — as Ross and a host of others, including her beloved Whitney Houston, hip-hoppers and rappers. It’s a full-time gig — with medical benefits to boot.