Justin Bieber’s relationship with Black people and Blackness itself has always been… interesting. His mentor, Usher, gave him his first record deal and bridged the gap between the Canadian teen and the hip-hop world. But Bieber became an international sensation as a pop star, and his fanbase — largely composed of white women in their teens and early twenties — reflects that.
His actual social circle, though, is another story. His extremely valuable social capital includes friendships with figures like Lil Twist, Drake, and Diddy. Bieber was even a part of Floyd Mayweather’s infamous Money Team. But things are changing (again) for the pop star. Bieber has reportedly doubled down on his Christian faith, and at least one reported casualty of his spiritual journey has been his relationship with Mayweather, whose lifestyle no longer aligns with his own.
Mayweather as been identified as a “bad influence” in Bieber's life. But that just doesn't feel like an accurate descriptor. It's really easy to visualize Mayweather's problematic behavior rubbing off on a young white dude who just wants to be cool. But even before he was rubbing shoulders with one of the wealthiest athletes of all time, Bieber was no stranger to trouble of his own that included egging houses, DUI arrests, Instagram pettiness with his ex girlfriend Selena Gomez, and a bunch of assault charges. He is a grown man who can make his own decisions, for better or for worse.
The dissolution of Bieber and Mayweather's relationship is said to have started like many other ruined friendships before it, with a social-media snub. Bieber unfollowed Mayweather on Instagram. According to reports from TMZ, Mayweather is pissed about it. He thinks Bieber — who has escorted him out to the ring for several fights — is a “traitor” for this ultimate betrayal. Bieber’s Hillsong Church has reportedly pushed him to reconsider his relationships and “[pull] back from those who are bad influences.” Per TMZ's sources, Bieber "didn't want a clean break from Floyd, he just wanted to 'reset boundaries.'" (Refinery29 has reached out to Bieber for comment.)
As W Magazine points out, Mayweather has been convicted in five cases of violence against women. He’s crass and has been accused of arrogance; though, to be fair, it’s not in the nature of professional boxers to be very humble. And then there is W’s valid point about Mayweather’s “fondness for such ungodly activities as strip clubs.” It makes perfect sense to me why anyone would decline a friendship with Mayweather, but especially Bieber, who is now trying to adhere more to the principals of his faith.
If Bieber wants to change his life around and get rid of the people that might be bringing some toxic energy into it, I respect it. If he suddenly doesn’t want to be associated with someone who beats women, great! It's clear that he now has the tools to do so, and he always has. Let's keep him accountable for his own shit — which includes surrounding himself with "bad boys" to bolster his own street credit — thanks.