BLACK VOICES

#ByeFelicia Gets An Uncomfortable New Origin Story

We have Ice Cube’s 1995 classic, Friday, to thank for the very useful phrase “Bye, Felicia”: In the movie, his character gets rid of a freeloading neighbor with this curt, simple phrase. Bye, Felicia. More recently, the phrase has found new life as the most satisfying way to dismiss Twitter trolls. “Bye, Felicia” is a diss. The ultimate shutdown. You say it to people who annoy you, who’ve insulted you, who’ve dared to disturb your airspace with their existence.

This week is the perfect time to consider the origins of #ByeFelicia, since the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton opens in theaters. The movie is essentially N.W.A.’s creation story, as well as a hero’s tale for both Ice Cube and Dr. Dre; it’s packed with retellings and reexaminations of crucial moments in the rap group’s history. We see Eazy-E drop that iconic first line of “Boyz-N-the Hood”; we see Dr. Dre and Snoop writing “Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang”; we see the incident of brutality that inspired Ice Cube to pen “Fuck Tha Police.”

And, because no Ice Cube origin story could leave out “Bye, Felicia,” the movie provides a fictionalized version of the moment that phrase was first uttered.

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