There are a handful of African American films that will go down as the most quoted movies in history. I will make a prediction that Friday is one of those movies. It has been twenty one years since it came out in theaters and folks are still yelling “bye Felicia” to each other, when most of them are too young to even know where the saying came from. In my opinion, this is the mark of a truly remarkable film. And to think, the plot of the movie simply revolves around two friends trying to figure out how to get $200 for a drug dealer who they owe by 10 pm. The rest of the events that happen in between are comedy gold and are what classic movies are made of. And because of the success of Friday, twenty one years later, most of the cast members have gone on to have successful careers. Let’s take a look at the main characters and see where they are now.
1. Ice Cube – “Craig Jones”
The man needs no introduction. Before this famous rapper starred in Friday he had roles in another iconic African American movie: Boyz n the Hood. Cube was able to crossover from hip hop to Hollywood better than many people in the music industry. After Friday, he became a respected actor and went on to star in dozens more movies such as All About the Benjamins, Ride Along and 22 Jump Street – which is his latest film. In 2015 Cube produced Straight Outta Compton, a sort of biopic about NWA and how the legendary rap group revolutionized hip hop.
2. Chris Tucker – “Smokey”
Tucker’s role as Smokey was his break-out role in Hollywood. He went on to make more movies, one of which is one of the most successful movie franchises in history: Rush Hour. After getting arrested for reckless driving in 2005, Tucker cleaned up his act and became a born again Christian. Because of his new-found faith, he did not reprise his role as Smokey in Next Friday or Friday After Next. Fast forward to 2011, Tucker came back to his stand-up roots and began performing on the stage again. The following year he would return to film in Silver Linings Playbook, an Academy Award-Winning drama.
3. Tommy Lister – “Deebo”
His role will most definitely go down in history as one of the best movie villains. Lister was so convincing as the neighborhood bully that it is hard to not associate him with that character. Nevertheless, he went on to appear in the films The Dark Knight and Austin Powers in Goldmember. In 2012 Lister plead guilty to conspiring to commit mortgage fraud and was charged with fraudulently buying homes in order to withdraw millions in home equity loans.
4. Angela Means – “Felicia”
Means is the face of the pop-culture phrase, “Bye Felicia”, but is most-likely the least known of all her Friday cast mates. She hasn’t been in a movie since 2001, but BET released an article in 2015 where they interviewed her about the sudden popularity of that iconic phrase. In the article she states, “Ice Cube uttered the words based off what I gave him as an actor. I don’t think that was actually in the script.”
5. Nia Long – “Debbie”
Debbie was the perfect woman in Craig’s world and was the perfect symbol of femininity. Her role as Debbie would mirror her roles following the release of Friday. Long is the golden girl of African American cinema. She has appeared in a number of films since starring in Friday. Her most recent role was in The Best Man Holiday where she reprised her part as Jordan. She is slated to star again in the third installment of the franchise.
6. John Witherspoon – “Willie Jones”
No one can forget the way Willie Jones was first introduced in the movie. There is something about toilet humor that makes the audience bust a gut (pun intended). After Friday Witherspoon would reprise his role in the sequels and perform stand-up. He also appeared in a few films and showed his face on the small screen on The Wayans Bros. and Tracy Morgan Show.
7. Bernie Mac – “Pastor Clever”
Mac was no stranger to comedy when he starred in Friday. He was one of the “Kings of Comedy” and lived up to that accolade with his mainstream success on the big screen and the small screen. He reached the pinnacle of success when he was given a t.v. sitcom where he was the headliner: The Bernie Mac Show. Mac’s career ended tragically in 2008 when the famous comedian died of an autoimmune disease at age 50.