The motivation in the mirror

Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

The year was 1988, and the date was March 2. My sisters and I sat in front of Grandma’s floor model television watching the airing of the Grammy Music Awards.

I think every young girl was crazy about Michael Jackson in 1988. While many of you who were as young as I was then may not have remembered that date (I didn’t either), you will recall this moment. He walked out on stage alone in his signature black “high water” pants and white tee under a blue button-down collared shirt. He did some dancing and then someone put a microphone in his hands. The upbeat music goes away, and chimes of tender melody replace it. Then Michael Jackson sings these opening lines: “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.”


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Watching from miles away, we were all unaware, in that moment, that we were witnessing a takeover at Radio City Music Hall. I would also suspect that the celebrities present in the room were caught unaware. When Michael Jackson sang “Man in the Mirror” featuring the Andrea Crouch Choir, the message took over such that the awards show producers continued the song even after the music had ended. The choir, the back-up singers and Michael continued ministering this message to the point that Michael himself was overwhelmed. There was a hush in my grandmother’s house as we watched the so-called King of Pop leave the performance behind and become a vessel for the Living Word. Thanks to YouTube, I can relive that moment as we witnessed Michael Jackson cry out, “you’ve got to make that change today.”

I still get chills.

Some would say it was just a performance and there was no real spiritual encounter that took place that night. Others say it was just more evidence to reinforce that Michael Jackson was the greatest of all time. He did carry a song with no accompaniment on the live taping of the Grammy Music Awards. (Notice that the show continued to air, and they did not cut to commercial the way they do award shows today.) Take your pick of what to believe. I am going with the words of his song, “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 change.” Which brings me to why I am writing about that night in 1988 today.

You cannot deny the truth of the message. Change really takes us facing the man in the mirror. I happen to believe that you will find the motivation for action taking when you talk to the man in the mirror. Recently, I was watching an episode of “NO DAYS OFF,” a video series that features remarkable, young athletes. I loved what the father of the Grandy twins of Philadelphia said about his sons, who are 10-year-old boxing prodigies. “You got an identical twin constantly pushing you every day to be better and better at what you do. You gonna advance. You are looking at you pushing you.” That being said, I have a question. How do you push yourself to do what you do?

All of us do not have identical twins. But most of us have a mirror of some size. We may think mirrors are just for getting ready for the day and make-up removal when the work day is over. A mirror provides a reflection of the image in front of it. Your mirror is your motivation. Even if you are not speaking audible words when you look in the mirror, I can guarantee that you are having some internal dialogue about that image that you are seeing. The best thing to do is use that mirror time to your advantage. Diana Ross said, “tell me, mirror, mirror on the wall.” I’d rather you tell the mirror. Tell the mirror who you are. Tell the mirror what you want to do. Tell the mirror what you envision for your future. Keep telling the mirror until what you say is what you see.


QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.