“Bye, Felicia” and why it bugs me

“Felicia” makes an appearance at a raunchy post-performance party with the rappers at their hotel suite, which suddenly gets interrupted by two armed men knocking on the door.

marcorubiobyeSomeone I know personally used the phrase “Bye, Felicia” in his blog. I’d seen the phrase before, and while I had no idea about its derivation – the cutting edge of recent pop culture phrases I’m not – I’d glommed on to the fact that it was a dismissive response.

One use might be to say it after US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lost the Florida GOP Presidential primary and was forced to give up his Oval Office aspirations. Or about any of other more than a dozen candidates who’ve dropped out of the race.

“Bye, Felicia” bugged me to an irrational degree, and I was curious to find out why.

Part of it, I suppose, was that it had become one of those cute “in the know” phrases that might have been clever, once upon a time, but had become irritating from groupspeak overuse. The NOT phenomenon from the Saturday Night Live – “You’re very intelligent – NOT!” – for instance.

More than this, though, is The Daughter’s reporting that she hears it “every day” at school, usually as a taunt to shut down someone else’s conversation. Not exactly bullying, I guess, but definitely snark. I’m not big on snark, as I feel that it lowers the bar on intelligent conversation, especially online. (“Intelligent online conversation”, I’m told, is an oxymoron.)

What IS the origin of “Bye, Felicia” anyway? From Know Your Meme:

“Bye, Felicia” is a memorable quote from the 1995 comedy film Friday [which I’ve never seen] which is often used online as a dismissive farewell.

Origin

On April 26th, 1995, the comedy film Friday was released, starring the characters Craig Jones (played by Ice Cube) and Smokey (played by Chris Tucker) as a pair of unemployed stoners who must find a way to pay a drug dealer $200 within 24 hours. In the film, a character named Felicia attempts to borrow a car and a marijuana cigarette from Smokey and Jones, causing Jones to say “Bye, Felicia.” On March 11th, 2007, YouTuber HyFlyer988 uploaded a clip of the scene, gathering over 870,000 views and 290 comments in the first eight years.

And it spread:

On December 7th, 2008, Urban Dictionary user pimpin’817 submitted an entry for “Bye, Felicia,” describing the phrase as a way to bid farewell to someone who is deemed unimportant. On October 27th, 2011, YouTuber Mamclol uploaded a video titled “Bye Felicia,” featuring the clip from Friday with an accompanying hip hop track about the character.

I asked The Wife if she had seen/heard the term. She had guessed that perhaps it was a sexual reference. Well, no. And yes.

In August 2015, online discussions about “Bye, Felicia” saw another notable resurgence after its inclusion in a scene from Straight Outta Compton, an American biopic film about the ’90s hip hop group N.W.A directed by F. Gary Gray, the same filmmaker behind the 1995 urban comedy movie and origin of the quote, Friday.

In the film, a minor female character named “Felicia” makes an appearance at a raunchy post-performance party with the rappers at their hotel suite, which suddenly gets interrupted by two armed men knocking on the door and looking for their friend by the same name. After a brief moment of confrontation, members of the group find Felicia giving oral sex to Eazy-E, who eventually proceeds to push her out of the hotel room by the head. As the door slams behind, Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) drops the line “Bye Felicia” in a direct nod to the now-famous quote from Friday.

While the film was generally met with critical acclaims upon its release, both the scene and the line were brought up by several film critics and hip hop bloggers for its abashedly misogynistic, slut-shaming undertone.

Is the character sexist, or is the movie? A conversation for another day.

You won’t see me using “Bye, Felicia”. Since my antipathy predated my knowledge of the origin, it must be the flippant, offhand disdain of its use. Its derivation has merely solidified my irritation.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on ““Bye, Felicia” and why it bugs me”

  1. I’m pretty indifferent about the phrase. I only used it once because I felt it helped express my utter contempt for Ben Carson in a post when none of us were sure whether he’d really quit the race or not. I also included a link to the meaning of the phrase, because, that’s what I do. But I haven’t used it before or since, and I’m not likely to.

    I don’t often use currently popular catchphrases for a particular reason: Since some form of my posts are likely to be accessible for decades to come, a future reader might not know what a slang word or catchphrase popular now was supposed to mean. So, I only use them, rarely, to make a special point.

    But, I’m indifferent to most such usage, and don’t take all that much notice of what others do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.