"Bye Felicia" In 'Straight Outta Compton' Vs. 'Friday' — A Comparison
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year (or you're Ryan Seacrest), you've probably heard the words "Bye Felicia." The catchphrase and internet meme has taken over the world, and is especially beloved as a quick way to shut down any haters. The phrase has become inexplicably popular recently, but it actually originates from the 1995 movie Friday, starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker and directed by F. Gary Gray. Now, the phrase has a slightly new origin story thanks to Ice Cube's newest collaboration with Gray, Straight Outta Compton. But how does "Bye Felicia" in Compton compare to Friday ?
'Bye Felicia' (or Felisha, depending on your spelling preference) was just meant to be a throwaway line in Friday, Ice Cube's feature film breakout. The rapper delivered the line in a scene when Cube, as Craig Jones, and his buddy, Smokey (played by Chris Tucker), are accosted by local druggie and freeloader Felicia (Angela Means), who wants to borrow Smokey's car. When he says no, she tries again, only this time asking to borrow a joint. After Smokey turns her down, she turns to Craig, who responds simply with, "Bye Felicia," successfully dismissing the woman and sending her on her way. Thus, a catchphrase was born.
In Straight Outta Compton, "Bye Felicia" is used a little differently and a bit more violently, though the general message remains the same. In the N.W.A. biopic, Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) and DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.) are having a wild party in their hotel room, filled with liquor and half-naked women, when a man interrupts asking for his girlfriend, Felicia. The guys chase him away through the halls, even threatening him with a gun. When they return to their hotel, a woman, Felicia, stands topless in the doorway. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella walk by her without a second glance, but Ice Cube pushes her out into hallway, saying, "Bye Felicia!" before slamming the door shut.
In the movies, 'Bye Felicia' might seem like just a way for guys to dismiss women coming to them with problems, but in the real world, there's almost no situation you can't use a little 'Bye Felicia.' Like, when it's 90 degrees out and you wear a crop top and someone tells you to put some clothes on. Or, when someone tries to trash your OTP (fandoms are sacred, OK?). Or even when some rando decides to catcall you on the street and then yells at you for ignoring them.
The appearance of 'Bye Felicia' in Straight Outta Compton was intended as a lighthearted wink to Friday fans, improvised by Jackson on the spot. But, others weren't so thrilled with the new origin story. Most notably, writer Allison Davis, who pointed to the scene as evidence of a misogynistic side of N.W.A. that isn't explored in the film. "I think for a movie that omitted discussing and contextualizing a history of degredation of women, a brutality of women — to ignore that conversation and then to add a misogynistic moment for a punchline just felt really bad and really insensitive and thoughtless," Davis said in an interview with NPR.
Gray and Ice Cube haven't commented much on any backlash, though. In fact, the rapper is just stunned the phrase is still relevant 20 years after the film was released. Cube told Yahoo, "It's really strange that a throwaway line like that would be so popular, and people would enjoy it so much, and it would be the ultimate 'get out of my face' diss."
Images: Universal Pictures; Giphy