Hi, Felicia: Catching Up With 'Friday' Actress, Angela Means, 20 Years Later
Actress/photographer Angela Means who inspired the line "Bye Felicia" talks life after 'Friday' 20 years later.
"Bye Felicia" has taken over timelines, making the popular phrase from the classic 1995 hood film, Friday, a viral mainstay. Even shows like ESPN's Olbermann or VH1's program of the same name have cashed in on the meme-able phrase.
Now, meet the woman behind Felicia: actress/photographer, Angela Means, who played the role of the nagging woman in Ice Cube and DJ Pooh's flick. In the film, Felicia (Means) tries to borrow something from Craig (Cube) after bugging Smokey (Chris Tucker) to use his car, only to get the response, "Bye Felicia," which Means says was born of improv.
"Cube uttered the words based off what I gave him as an actor," Means said in a phone interview with VIBE. "I don’t think that was actually in the script. That’s what the vibe was and we went with it."
Fast forward 20 years later, and "Bye Felicia" is still going strong. The hilarious character has provided Means with a platform to launch her organization Angie's Kids, which focuses on educating people on health, wellness, and early childhood development. Ahead of the film's 20th birthday on April 26, Means discusses life after Friday, the magic behind the film's impact on pop culture, and if she actually uses the phrase "Bye Felicia."
VIBE: How did you find out about the role of Felicia?
Angela Means: My agent [Nancy Chadiez Agency] did. I remember getting the audition and having fun with [the character Felicia]. I was just ready to rock and roll, and work with a bunch of comics. I actually got the audition and the script along with what is called the "sides." The sides are what you read in your audition. I went in, had a great time, and the rest is history.
When you read the script for Friday, what were your initial thoughts?
It was brilliant. My son’s father and I were both in the school of, 'If someone gets a bunch of comics together, they’re going to win.' It’s a cult classic because of the script and perfect casting. The script is like a perfect story. That’s what compelled me to say this was my piece.
What were some memorable moments on set?
Just working with icons. I was blown away all of the time, every day. I was blown away by Cube’s process—that’s what I remember most. Trust me when I tell you, Rea Ann Silva, the makeup artist, really created Felicia. I’m getting emotional, but I remember that it was really tough because I was working from a different place [emotionally]. I was really that bitch. (Laughs) And Rea Ann was like my sister. She and stylist Shawn Barton helped me create her, but [Silva] allowed me to develop Felicia just through her wardrobe. I remember Meagan Good. The moment I saw her, I had an overwhelming feeling that she was a star.
What do you think of the recent impact your character has had on social media or pop culture?
Girl, it is crazy. I will never have the last word again. Again, it’s a testament to Ice Cube. I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe his impact on not just a local or national level, but a global level.
What was it like appearing on ESPN with Keith Olbermann, who religiously uses the term “Bye Felicia”?
Stuart Scott and Keith Olbermann are the kings of ESPN sports talk. [Olbermann's] like the Jon Stewart of sports. He is also a current events commentator whose had an impact and a career that spans decades. He invited me on his show and wanted to meet me. It’s indescribable.
Have you ever used the term “Bye Felicia” in real life or been on the receiving end of it?
Oh my God, I did but I’m very selective with it. I’m an adult and it’s a little redundant like, 'Okay, Felicia saying, 'Bye Felicia.'' I have a Felicia page on Facebook that’s got a couple of thousand followers, where I talk like Felicia. We have fun.
What has life been like after Friday?
I’m just a mom and a photographer. I have photographed very important people, social icons that I’ve been blessed to work with. My son is an educated athlete. It’s just been so important that he gets the best education. That’s my crowning achievement: him. He’s my Oscar, that’s what I tell people.
How did you shift from the big screen to now leading your video production and photography business?
It was okay for me to not do [movies] because I had been a part of really important projects. I’m just blessed beyond belief. I was part of the House Party series, then Friday and on top of that, I’m a part of television’s first black live action puppet show, Cousin Skeeter. Bill Bellamy voiced the puppet, I was the mom and Meagan Good was on that show. She was the little girl down the hall. Robert Ri’chard played my son. My child was three-years-old [at the time] and after Skeeter went down, he went into pre-school. Once he started football, that was a good 40-hour a week job right there. I made sure he had everything that he needed and I made sure all the lanes were open for him because the more I gave him, the more he wanted. Part of being a good mother is birthing a child with a good father and that’s what I did. We planned our son and we said no matter what happens, we are going to love this child more than we dislike one another.
In a previous interview with Ebony, you said you’re delving into the holistic health business. What motivated you to get involved in that industry?
I want to see my grandchildren. I want to be healthy, I want to play with them. Once I figured out a better way to be a better me, I had to share it. I’ve lost 30 pounds and feel absolutely incredible. I don’t have mood swings. I can really get into how the body functions. We’re just a series of tubes and we have to keep those tubes clean. We’re meat and when you put meat inside of meat, it can’t move itself. You have to have some fiber, which is the greens, kale, chard, flax seeds. Then you have to put in the fruits and vegetables. Eighty percent of the stuff in stores is inedible. In Detroit, there are dialysis facilities on every other corner right now. You are what you eat. One of my theories about Felicia coming back is it has given me a voice. Everything takes time, but it has just given me a voice for things like this.
Why do you think Friday has such a strong influence on entertainment, even 20 years later?
It’s transcendent. It’s a timeless piece during a magical time in L.A. and urban black history. We were making some noise in the '60s. Then the '70s came and it was R&B and soul. Then N.W.A. hit and that’s when the magic started with just the era and the decade. Then you put Ice Cube, DJ Pooh and some of the funniest people in the business together, that’s the formula for magic. Cube’s the magician. He’s the one who had the foresight and the script was real. People could relate to it. It wasn’t even like you were looking at a movie.
What are some of your favorite scenes from Friday?
Some of the shots [director] F. Gary Gray did that were just like 'Wow!' My number two scene was the fighting, and any one with John Witherspoon. Big Worm was hilarious and you know what was funny? Chris Tucker running down the street in his drawers when he was having a bad reaction [to angel dust].
There are talks of a new Friday movie in the works. Will you be involved in the process?
Cube wants to keep going, but people have moved on and the same people aren’t available at the same rate and don’t have the same time or the same inclination. That’s where it is. It’s going to be timely and when it happens, it’ll happen. It’s not like people are opposed to it, but it’s just the nature of the business, just timing. It's got to be right.
Photo Credit: Angela Means