While tensions in the political climate are running high, awards season has given celebrities the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to comment on issues affecting the nation. While some celebrities are praised for their efforts, others have come under fire for talking about issues that do not directly affect them.
Meryl Streep stole the show at the Golden Globes with her pointed speech – in which she did not mention Trump’s name – about role models perpetuating bullying. At the Grammys, A Tribe Called Quest joined forces with Anderson .Paak (and eventually Consequence and Busta Rhymes) to call out President Trump for the Muslim Ban. The Oscars also saw a fair amount of protest, as Iranian director Asghar Farhadi chose to boycott the Academy Awards, despite the fact that he won the award for Best Foreign Language Film for The Salesman.
It seems this trend is nowhere near its end, as Justin Timberlake took the stage at the iHeart Music Awards to give a speech that addressed the LGBTQ+ youth of the country. On Sunday, March 5th, he took home the award for Song of the Year for “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” a song he wrote for the animated movie Trolls. When accepting the award, Timberlake said,
“I wrote this song because I wanted it to be about inclusion, about being together. I guess I want to take this opportunity and speak to young people right now ‘cause there’s a lot of you looking at me.”
He referenced his own personal experience as an outsider growing up to connect with the audience:
“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.”
Perhaps one of the most notable lines from his speech came when he said, “being different means you’re making a difference.”
Unlike other celebrities who have chosen to stay silent on political issues, like Taylor Swift, Timberlake has proven to be very active in voicing his opinions regarding politics. Ironically, while honoring Swift at last year’s iHeart Music Awards, he took the opportunity to take a dig at Trump and at the wall, saying “some people are out here to build walls. We ain’t naming no names. Taylor chooses to knock down walls and invite everyone to be on her #Squad.” It was no mystery who Timberlake was voting for in the election, as he and his wife Jessica Biel even hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.
Watch the full video of him accepting his award below: