Justin Timberlake is best known for his boy band past and successful transition to one of the biggest solo pop superstars today, but during Sunday night’s iHeartRadio Music Awards, the multi-talented entertainer got political.
Timberlake took home the first award of the night, winning Song of the Year for his infectious earworm “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” Timberlake, who has previously won the Innovator of the Year Award at the iHeartRadio Awards, used his 30-second speech to address racism and homophobia.
“I wrote this song because I wanted it to be about inclusion, about being together,” Timberlake told the audience. “And so, I guess I want to take this opportunity to speak to young people right now because there’s a lot of you looking at me.”
The Memphis, Tennessee native got political and personal with his speech, a move we don’t often see from Timberlake.
“If you are black or you are brown or you are gay or you are lesbian or you are trans or maybe you’re just a sissy singing boy from Tennessee, anyone that is treating you unkindly, it’s only because they are afraid or they have been taught to be afraid of how important you are.”
We can’t imagine anyone teasing Timberlake over his dreams of being a performer, considering he was starring on the Mickey Mouse Club by age 12 and touring the world with NSYNC by 14, but we appreciate his empathy.
Timberlake put the censors to work before ending on a positive note, saying “Because being different means you make the difference, so f–k them. Thank you so much for this. I love you guys, have a great night.”
For most of the audience watching in the US, networks TNT, TBS and TruTV censored Timberlake’s swearing, but the official iHeartRadio Twitter account posted the speech in full. Take that, haters.
— iHeartRadio (@iHeartRadio) March 6, 2017