Where does bye Felicia come from?
“Bye, Felisha” is a line spoken by Ice Cube’s character, Craig, in the 1995 cult, stoner, comedy film Friday. While smoking a joint with his friend Smokey, he is approached by Felisha, a local girl who constantly annoys the neighborhood with her begging and attempts to mooch off others. After her request to borrow Smokey’s car is met with total refusal, she turns to Craig for support, and, rather than offer to help or defend her, he looks away and simply says “Bye, Felisha” in a dismissive tone.
The term bye Felicia has been popular in Black culture since the 1990s when the film was released, although the spelling of the name has changed to the more common (and, some would point out, more “white”) spelling: Felicia. It reemerged in pop culture and became a more mainstream phrase when the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race started using it regularly around 2009.
Bye Felicia is considered by some to be yet another example of white culture appropriating black culture without knowledge of the original source material. Friday, the film from which the phrase originates, has been a popular and beloved cult classic in modern American black culture, though the phrase's sudden rise in popularity is several times removed from the film. It’s important to keep all this context in mind when using or encountering the phrase.
The social acceptability of the phrase has also come into question since the release of the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton by F. Gary Gray, the same director who made 1995’s Friday. In Straight Outta Compton, there is a scene that was initially thought to be a depiction of the bye Felicia origins. The scene involved an orgy in a hotel room and the forceful removal of a woman named Felicia, ending with Ice Cube echoing his original delivery of “Bye, Felicia” in a much more violent and misogynistic context than in Friday. Although the filmmakers have clarified that the scene was a fictitious depiction of bye Felicia’s origins, some felt that the aggressive and misogynistic scene tainted the phrase.
Who uses bye Felicia?
Bye Felicia is most often used humorously or as a way to throw shade at someone, suggesting the speaker couldn’t be bothered with another person’s presence or is surprised they haven’t left yet. While humor is almost always part of the intention in using the term, the tone in which it is said has changed somewhat over time. Initially, bye Felicia was said coolly or nonchalantly, as in the movie Friday, and now it is often used in a more aggressive or melodramatic way.
Ice Cube discussed the ongoing popularity of the phrase in an interview with Conan O’Brien, stating, “That is the phrase to get anybody out of your face that’s saying something stupid.”
@Twitter is suggesting me to follow @POTUS and @Scientology today. Guess that means it's time to delete this app. #neverever #ByeFelicia
Maggie_OBrien5, March, 2017
I wondered how some of my white male friends could vote for Trump when I helped them understand what ‘Bye Felicia’ really meant.
Janell Roberts, “My Problem with the White Feminist Reaction to the Presidential Election,” The Black Print, November, 2016
Olbermann was the first one to prominently use ‘Bye Felicia’ to dismiss those who were about to exit the political arena, and it stuck.
Bill Palmer, “What does “Bye Felicia” mean in political circles? Here’s what you need to know.” Daily News Bin, December, 2015