22. COVID-19: Man in the Mirror

My dear learning community,

During this COVID-19 pandemic, musicians have really stepped forward, giving us music to inspire us and express the essence of the time we are living in together. It’s not the first time musicians have done this; from Live Aid 1985 to every benefit concert following a catastrophe like hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., musicians come forward to lead the way. I believe our moonwalker, the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson, provided the ultimate song, “Man in the Mirror,” to guide all of us to make the world a better place.

 

This letter will be about COVID-19: Man in the Mirror

 

Before Man in the Mirror, there was Live Aid 1985. 

 

What was Live Aid 1985?

In 1985, rock star Bob Geldof called together all of his friends and talents to join a charity concert in Wembley Stadium, London, called Live Aid, for famine relief in Africa. It raised millions of dollars that went to help Ethiopia. All of the big musical names of the time participated, including Madonna, Elton John, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, U2, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Sting, Santana, The Who, Duran Duran, and more. However, rock band Queen turned the event into a global phenomenon when they took the stage, having 72,000 fans in the stadium singing along with them, and seeming to reach through the cameras for everyone watching remotely. For 20 minutes, Wembley Stadium and 2 billion people watching across the world were in unison with the upbeat music of Queen with the intent of fundraising to help Africa. By the second song, the crowd is electrified by Queen lead singer, the charismatic Freddie Mercury, and singing along to “Radio Ga Ga.” Queen’s performance on this day is considered the high watermark for a live rock and roll performance. Here is the video link on Youtube for Queen’s Live Aid performance:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r19FYTYRvSc

 

Taking inspiration from Live Aid 1985, activist organization Global Citizen and Lady Gaga have invited the big names of our era to participate in an event to raise funds, called One World: Together at Home 2020.

 

What is One World: Together at Home 2020?

On Saturday, April 18, 2020, there will be a worldwide fundraising special, called One World: Together at Home. Unlike Live Aid, it will not have any audience members at a stadium; instead, it will be broadcast on several online platforms globally. They are raising funds for frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

 

The event is curated by Lady Gaga, who incidentally took her name from the Queen hit song, “Radio Ga Ga.” Life comes full circle, right? The event will be triple hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert. Entertainers for the evening include Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Burna Boy, Chris Martin, David Beckham, Eddie Vedder, Elton John, Finneas, Idris and Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kerry Washington, Lang Lang, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shah Rukh Khan, and Stevie Wonder.

 

Here is the link for the event:

 

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/connect/togetherathome/

 

Jimmy Kimmel talked with Lady Gaga about this event a few days ago:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTF6sx-HABs

 

I believe this event will break the record for viewers worldwide. You don’t want to miss out, do you? I will be watching!

 

In anticipation of the event, we can listen to Michael Jackson’s hit, “Man in the Mirror,” with a more enlightened perspective in the face of COVID-19.

 

What was Man in the Mirror 1988?

Earlier this week, when I was reminded of “Man in the Mirror,” I went back and read the lyrics and watched the video. The song remains as relevant as it was in 1988, and it underscores our theme of generosity and reevaluating our lives during this COVID-19 crisis. In the song, Jackson expresses the challenge of starting with himself, and taking responsibility for making a change in his life so the world can be a better place. It is interesting to note that the song was co-written by a woman. Man or woman, look in the mirror.

 

Here is the video link on Youtube for Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IWAdE_H6fQ

 

Here are the lyrics if you cannot access the video:

 

Man in the Mirror

I’m gonna make a change,

For once in my life

It’s gonna feel real good,

Gonna make a difference

Gonna make it right

 

As I turn up the collar on

My favorite winter coat

This wind is blowing my mind

I see the kids in the streets,

With not enough to eat

Who am I to be blind?

 

Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,

A broken bottle top

And a one man soul

They follow each other on the wind ya’ know

‘Cause they got nowhere to go

 

That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

 

If you want to make the world a better place

(If you want to make the world a better place)

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

 

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love

It’s time that I realize

That there are some with no home not a nickel to loan

Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?

 

A willow deeply scarred, 

Somebody’s broken heart

And a washed-out dream

(Washed-out dream)

They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see

‘Cause they got no place to be

That’s why I’m starting with me

(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

(Ooh!)

I’m asking him to change his ways

(Ooh!)

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

(If you want to make the world a better place)

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

(Ooh!)

I’m asking him to change his ways

(Change his ways, ooh!)

 

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make that

(Take a look at yourself and then make that)

Change!

 

 

Always, with best regards, stay safe, Semper Gumby

 

Dawn Dekle, PhD

AUN President (Vice-Chancellor)

 

Teaser: stay tuned for the next letter from the desk of the AUN President, on the topic “COVID-19: One Lesson from a Past Catastrophe”