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Justin Timberlake Wins First-Ever Decade Award at 2016 Teen Choice Awards: ‘Don’t Waste Your 20s’

Can’t stop the feelings from this speech! Justin Timberlake delivered a passionate acceptance speech and gave the teenage crowd his best advice at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards at The Forum in Inglewood, California, on Sunday, July 31.

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After Kobe Bryant presented him with the first-ever Decade Award, for his achievements in music, movies, TV, fashion and much more, the “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” singer opened up about his own upbringing and urged teens to respect and have compassion for all people.

“As a former teen, a while ago, who’s made a few choices along the way, I’m here to tell you that you and your choices matter,” Timberlake, 35, told the crowd. “My parents did their best to fill my young mind not with prejudice and hate, but with compassion and love. I think that’s part of the reason to this day I try to live my life working most closely with, making music with, and spending so much time with an amazing group of people — male, female, straight, gay, every walk of life. … I was drawn to all 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 doesn’t mean we all don’t want the same thing.”

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The Trolls actor told the audience that his message was to learn not from his example but from all the greats who came before. He cited his biggest influences as musicians, such as the Rev. Al Green, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, and “the greatest of all time,” Muhammad Ali, who passed away last month.

Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake accepts the Decade Award onstage during the Teen Choice Awards. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Timberlake shared three pieces of advice from the boxing legend: “Don’t count the days; make the days count,” “The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth” and a few words from Ali’s famous “impossible is nothing” motivational speech.

“As a relatively new dad and a former teen, I am here to say you will make mistakes along the way, you will fall down,” said the “Mirrors” crooner, who is dad of 15-month-old son, Silas, with wife Jessica Biel. “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 are going to be here before you know it and they are going to go fast.”

The former teen heartthrob reminded the audience that respect starts in their own homes. “Be nice to your parents. I hope my son watches this one day,” he said. “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 just go on and become the greatest generation yet.”

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