Justin Timberlake gives empowering speech of unity at Teen Choice Awards
Justin Timberlake encouraged generosity and unity during his acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday.
The "Can't Stop the Feeling" singer was presented with the first-ever Decade Award for "dominating the world of entertainment" over the past 10 years.
After he was handed the surfboard trophy by his friend and basketball icon Kobe Bryant, Timberlake gave an empowering speech to the crowd at the Los Angeles awards show, which was mostly filled with younger fans.
"As a former teen who has made a few choices along the way, I'm here to tell you that you and your choices matter," Timberlake began. "My family taught me big lessons. To respect all people on the basis of their character - not where they live, not what 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 that but with compassion and love.
"It's why to this day I work closely with an amazing group of people - male, female, straight, gay - every walk of life. People who help each other and find a common ground. The truth is we are all different but that does not mean we all don't want the same thing. To all those teens out there, I ask you not to learn from my example but from the example of all the greats before me."
Timberlake went on to name his personal heroes such as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Garth Brooks and Al Green, who the former 'N Sync star said "taught the world a lesson that resonates now more than ever - Let's Stay Together," naming the soul singer's iconic song.
He also shared inspiring advice from late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who taught him that what you do counts for not only your own generation but generations to come, and also encouraged fans to be kind and generous to all people.
"We can all agree that 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," Timberlake told the audience. "As a relatively new dad and former teen, I'm here to say you will mistakes along the way. You will fall down. I did. Even Ali did, but we do after that fall is how we make history, because impossible is nothing."
He added, "Don't waste your 20s... Be nice to your parents - I hope my son (15-month-old Silas) 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."
Timberlake concluded, "So go out, do the impossible, and just go on and become the greatest generation yet."
With the Decade Award, he earns his 23rd Teen Choice Award, marking the most any male has won in the ceremony's 17-year history. He's previously won Choice Hottie Male three times, twice for Choice Music: Male Artist and also earned seven surfboards with 'N Sync.