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If Hip Hop was a Movie: Friday




If Hip Hop was a movie, it would be Friday.  Craig Jones (Ice Cube) was fired (on his day off) for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, his best friend, Smokey (Chris Tucker), owes Big Worm (Faizon Love), the local drug dealer money. 

Before the day is over, Deebo has beaten Felicia (Angela Means), the half-sister of his love interest Debbie (Nia Long), into oblivion, accusing her of stealing from him. Craig eventually fights Deebo (Tommy Lister Jr.) for slapping Debbie (Nia Long) in the moments after she defended her sister Felicia. 

Throughout the movie, Craig and Smokey take us on a tour of their urban inner-city neighborhood, complete with corner stores, crackheads, theft, shoot-outs, soul food, family values, and kool-aid. The motion picture may not be a complete display of the African American community, but it is most certainly an accurate depiction of part of it. This is why, if Hip Hop were a movie, it would be Friday.

As African Americans, some of our favorite phrases as a people have come from the movie Friday. For example:

“ I got mind control over Deebo…”

“ You got knocked the f** out!”

“ Bye, Felicia.”

Each has entered African American Vernacular English (AAVE) as phrases that go far beyond the meaning of their literal words. The phrases are defined by their context.

 I got mind control over Deebo can be used in several ways not only to express mastery or manipulation of something or someone but also as a phrase used in jest to suggest the exact opposite. Deebo’s name itself became an adjective. “ You got deebo’d!” meaning you’ve been conquered, forced into submission, or otherwise coerced against your will. Another slang term for being deebo’d is punked. This comes from Deebo openly stealing a bike and a chain from a character played by DJ Pooh. 

You got knocked the f*** out has an obvious and literal meaning, but Bye Felicia is quite colorful linguistically. Felicia is the least promising character cast for the film. She is shiftless, unsightly, needy, and impoverished. She appears to be strung out on an illegal substance of sorts and is a nuisance and a burden to her neighbors. The name Felicia carries the weight of the aforementioned description. 

To refer to an individual as Felicia is a pejorative that implies much more than the curse words we are accustomed to. Bye Felicia is said to or about anything from a bad smoking habit to a presidential candidate you feel isn’t fit for office, as Michelle Obama famously said referring to Donald Trump. The colorful cultural contribution of this movie, in addition to the celebrities cast to play in it (like John Witherspoon), is why this is a movie that embodies hip hop culture.

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