“Former Teen” Justin Timberlake Shares Words Of Wisdom At Teen Choice Awards

At the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, Justin Timberlake received the Decade Award, presented to him by Kobe Bryant. During his acceptance speech, Timberlake shared an inspirational message for young people, and looked every bit like a high school teacher imparting his wisdom. The 35-year-old described his Tennessee upbringing, noting that his parents taught him to "respect all people on the basis of their character." He also listed some of the musical artists who inspired him over the years, including Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Garth Brooks, and Elton John. Of course, presenting a 10-year award might seen strange at an event aimed at teens. Many current teens, for example, might not remember "Sexy Back," which was featured prominently in the montage ahead of Timberlake's speech. But the artist himself seemed to recognize that fact. He referred to himself as a "former teen" multiple times, and his speech was framed as advice for the kids. Timberlake encouraged teens to volunteer locally, stressing that you don't have to make a difference on a global scale for your actions to be worthwhile. "Do not think for a moment that what you do doesn't count," he said, addressing the "teens out there." He continued, "We should be part of the solution, and not part of the problem." He wrapped up his speech with a quote from Muhammad Ali: "Impossible is nothing." While his speech seemed more fitting for a commencement ceremony than for an awards show honoring his music and film performances, it was a nice addition to the show. Timberlake focused the speech on unity, rather than on his own achievements — and hopefully inspired young people along the way.

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