I love music, and because of that I love to watch the MTV, Billboard, Dove, CMA and Teen Choice music award shows! I like to see what is going on in the entertainment world, and was pleasantly surprised at parts of the Teen Choice Awards that aired on July 31st. Two portions particularly inspired me in a show that was mostly fun and lighthearted. In one instance I think the TCAs hit the mark perfectly, but in the other, I believe they were slightly off target and missed an opportunity to make a tremendous impact.
Justin Timberlake was awarded the TCA's Decade Award for his lifetime achievements in music, movies, TV, fashion, and much more. His speech was insightful and directed to the teens in the audience. He dealt with how we see and interact with people who are different than we are.
“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.”
It was clear that his words were heartfelt and sincere. His also speech contained three pieces of advice for teens, including,“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,” from Muhammad Ali, who passed away earlier this year and was one of Timberlake's mentors. He also included 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,” 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.”
I was impressed by Justin Timberlake's openness and his message. Timberlake even mixed his serious points with some fun and banter with presenter Kobe Bryant. Plus, he stole this momma's heart with a last piece of advice to teens, “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.” I thought the way that he spoke to issues that are facing this country today and related it to the future was eloquent and you could tell by the audience reaction that his point was made. Great job Justin!
Another segment featured Jessica Alba on stage with several teens. She began speaking about the recent gun violence and how it affects the children of the victims.
"Tonight we stand together with these teens, united in a call for peace and an end to this violence. Now more than ever we need to stop, feel and ask what's going on," Alba said.
I thought that her comment was wonderful, and I was touched that the TCA would devote time to this issue. Plus since it came right after Timberlake's speech about choices and nothing being impossible, it just seemed to flow. Each of the teens said their names, and Jessica explained how they were related to someone who had died in a gun-related incident. The segment concluded with Alba inviting everyone to stand while singer Ne-Yo performing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” The audience was encouraged to post on social media using the hashtag #StopTheViolence.
As the names were being said I noticed the teens on stage were related to shooting victims in places like San Bernardino, California; Newtown, Connecticut; and Orlando, Florida. I was shocked to see that Christina Grimmie and her family were not mentioned. Grimmie was shot and killed at age 22 by a deranged fan at a meet-and-greet following her concert in Orlando, Florida this past June. The TCAs even used Grimmie in promos of the show, but during the show she was not mentioned, nor was it announced that she had been awarded the TCA's Music Web Star. Her fans are outraged. Many have hit social media to let the TCAs know they are not happy with what they are perceiving as using her to get ratings and viewers. They specifically point out an official TCA tweet that said, “Retweet to vote in memory of @TheRealGrimmie for #ChoiceMusicWeb Star. #TeenChoice.”
Another thing that hit me was that teens affected by the five officers who were shot and killed in Dallas were not mentioned, and neither were the four Marines shot last year in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I am not trying to take away from the pain that the teens on the stage were feeling. My heart ached just hearing the pain in their voices as they said their own names. I just feel like once again the media and celebrities have decided who gets to be honored, what survivors get to feel the most pain and be comforted.
Violence in this country is rapidly growing, whether guns, bombs, planes, knives, or fists are used to perpetrate the violence, the end result is the same--pain. Pain for the children, families and communities involved. Who has the right to say that one life matters more than another? Whose life matters most--a club goer, an unarmed Marine, a police officer or student, a man, woman or child, someone who is gay, straight, transgender, black, or white?
I strongly think that the TCAs missed a chance to send an even stronger message by omitting some of these families. Is it truly being united, as Jessica Alba stated, if we only recognize violence towards some? Such a powerful message would have been delivered if some of the other victims were shown standing side by side, especially in light of the tension in our country right now. It is time we teach our children that we are all precious, and that anyone who takes a life is wrong, and every family left behind is to be comforted, cared for, and treated with respect. Every life is worth something to someone's loved ones, and it is not the place for the media or anyone else for that matter to decide whose life is worthy and whose is not. On this the TCAs missed the mark. That is sad in my opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts!
Please be respectful of others' opinions and beliefs as you share.