by Alisha Jackson
Justin Timberlake accepted The Decade Award at the Teen Choice Awards last night, where he delivered a powerful and inspiring speech to the young people watching in the crowd and at home. Despite being only 35 years young, Timberlake could have received the award last decade too, as he began starring in The All-New Mickey Mouse Club at the young age of 12 in 1993, and broke onto the music scene with his hugely successful boy band, *NSYNC, only two years later.
JT connected to young viewers right off the bat by talking about his former teen years. “As a former teen, who’s made a few choices along the way, I’m here to tell you that you and your choices matter.” Then, Timberlake got a little more personal, “I grew up in Millington, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis, where I was blessed to be raised by parents and a family that who taught me some big lessons. They taught me to respect them, they taught me to respect myself, and to respect all people on the basis of their character. Not where they live, not what did they did for a living, or 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.” “The truth is we are all different, but that does not mean we all don’t want the same thing,” he later added.
After sharing three pieces of Muhammad Ali’s “undying wisdom” to the young crowd, Justin went on to tell them to “do the impossible and just go on and become the greatest generation yet.” “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 20s. They’re gonna be here before you know it, and they will go fast. Be nice to your parents. (I hope my son watches this one day.) 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 just go on and become the greatest generation yet. Thank you so much.”
You can watch his full speech below.