This Transcript Of Justin Timberlake's Speech At The Teen Choice Awards Will Inspire Fans Of Any Age
Some singers may come and go, but no one has made an impact on the music industry quite like the guy who likes to put on his suit and tie and is known for bringing sexy back. That's why it made total sense to see Justin Timberlake accept the Decade Award at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards this year, as a testament to his ongoing contributions as an artist. From his catchy lyrics to his stellar dance moves, this guy knows how to put on a show and produce numerous chart-topping songs you can't ever get out of your head. And Timberlake's Teen Choice Awards speech shows that he also knows how to inspire his fans while delivering a powerful message.
Now, this isn't the first honor the Teen Choice Awards has given this Grammy winner. In fact, Timberlake has won a total of 22 Teen Choice Awards throughout his entire career and I think we can all agree that is a very impressive accomplishment. But what makes being honored with the Decade Award this year so fitting is that 2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of Timberlake launching his multi-platinum album FutureSex/LoveSounds back in September 2006.
After Kobe Bryant introduced Timberlake with an extensive reel of why he's become such a household name, listing off his many outstanding accomplishments, the man of the hour himself took to the stage and said a few words. He used his time on the stage as a platform to help inspire the next generation, starting his speech by saying:
"Thank you, Teen Choice. As a former teen, a while ago, who has made a few choices along the way, I’m here to tell you that your choices matter. In my case, I grew up in Millington, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis… where I was blessed to be raised by family and by parents who taught me some big lessons. They taught me to respect them, they taught me to respect myself, and they taught me to respect all people on the basis of their character, not where they live, not what they did for a living, not on the color of their skin.
My parents did their best to fill my young mind not with prejudice or hate but with compassion and love. I think it’s part of the reason why, to this day, I try to live my life working most closely with, making music with, and spending so much of my time with an amazing group of people — male, female, straight, gay, every walk of life. People who help each other and find a common ground. I was drawn to all of these people not because they look like me, but because they think and feel like me. The truth is, we are all different, but that does not mean we all don’t want the same thing.
... So, to all you teens out there, I ask you to not learn from my example but from the example of all the greats who have come before me. For me, a big moment growing up was when I discovered there was a music legend living down the street from me — the Reverend Al Green — who taught the wolrd a lesson that resonates now I think more than ever — let’s stay together. And I learned from so many music greats — Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder — I even learned a lot from the guy standing next to me on stage [Bryant] on how to arrive early and stay late because that’s how you become a champion.
After those moving words, Timberlake turned his attention to sports icon we recently lost, using Muhammad Ali's message to bolster his own:
"Now, speaking of great champs, I believe we can all learn from the greatest of all time, a man who grew up just 400 miles down the road from me in Louisville, Kentucky — Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali fought in the ring, but he fought for peace, too, and he became the heavyweight champion of the world because we all know he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. That’s right. Now, our world lost that champ this year, so tonight, I want to share three pieces of his undying wisdom that have helped me and may help you in your journey.
Number one, the champ said — don’t count the days, make the days count. Pretty good. Now, you are young, as I once was, but do not think for a moment that what you do doesn’t count. It does. Not just to you, but also to your generation, who will someday inherit this world from old timers like me and Kobe.
Number two — the champ said this — Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth. So be generous, be kind, be fair. It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s the good thing to do. I think we can all agree with all the tension in the world today that can divide us, we should be part of the solution and not part of the problem. And you don’t have to make a difference on a global stage — you can volunteer in your neighborhood or in another neighborhood nearby where people might look a little different from you and they might teach you a thing or two.
So, third, and finally, here’s maybe the greatest thing a teen or anyone in this room and who is watching on the television at home can learn from the champ — these are words to remember when anyone tries to tell you to give up, tell you to give in, because whatever you are trying to do is impossible. The champ said this — impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact — it’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. Greatest quote ever."
Before he left the stage, Timberlake circled back to his opening, reminding fans that though he's now a parent, he was once a teen, and has learned from his mistakes. Now, he wants to share those lessons with everyone listening:
"So, as a relatively new dad and a former teen, I’m here to say you will make mistakes along the way. You will fall down. I have. Many times. Even Ali did. But what we do after that fall is how we make history, because impossible is nothing. So don’t waste your twenties. They will be here before you know it and they will go fast.
Be nice to your parents. I hope my son watches this one day. Be nice to your parents. They aren’t perfect, either, but they have been through this movie before, and they love you, more than you can imagine. So go out, do the impossible, and go on and become the greatest generation yet. Thank you so much!"
Timberlake is using his Teen Choice Awards honor to not just thank his teen fans for supporting him, but to encourage them to change the world with kindness and respect. I hope Timberlake's words will resonate with not just teens, but anyone watching, because it's a message that we should all take to heart.