28 Days of Black Movies: 5 reasons why ‘Friday’ is an iconic Black film
OPINION: The 1995 cult classic movie paved the way for an entire genre of Black films that followed in its footsteps.
How many times have you watched Friday?
If you are like me, you have likely lost count. Friday is one of those movies that if I am flipping through the channels on television and I see it, I’m going to stop and watch it no matter which part I catch it on.
Released in April 1995, Friday was a box office success that developed a cult following when it was released on video. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who can’t recite at least one line from the movie, and if you do know someone like that, why are you kicking it with them?
Friday has legendary status as far as movies are concerned, and I shan’t be argued with on that point. Here are five reasons why I think would go so far as to say it is an iconic Black film.
1. Friday paved the way for every Black stoner/buddy film after it.
Cheech and Chong made it OK to be stoners on film—for white people. Yes, I get that they themselves are not white, but those movies catered to a white audience (even though we all loved them as well) and made stoner films palatable for white audiences.
Friday opened the door for the Black stoner buddy comedy. Without Friday, there is no Half Baked or How High (1 and 2!) or The Wash. Hell, I would go so far as to say even I Got the Hook-Up has Friday to thank for its success.
Craig (Ice Cube) and Smokey (Chris Tucker) being two inept friends trying to get themselves out of a bind may not be the most trailblazing material, but when you combine it with a chronic pothead and the fact that they live in the hood and all this hood stuff is happening around them as they go through their drama, it turns into something we can relate to on an entirely different level, and it was a much-needed shift in movies made for us back then.
It wasn’t as heavy as Boyz n the Hood or Menace II Society, but it gave us enough hood to make it all make sense.
2. It has some of the best quotables.
Before Keith Olbermann ran it into the ground, “Bye, Felicia” was a pretty popular sentiment for when you wanted to dismiss someone. We wouldn’t have that if we didn’t have Friday. Also, the actual spelling of her name in the movie is Felisha, but whatever. “Bye, Felicia” even found its way into the NWA movie.
I still say “You ain’t got to lie, Craig” to people, and when I don’t want to be bothered (especially in light of social distancing and stuff), I say, “I would, but I don’t really be liking no whole bunch of people…”
The point is, there are so many quotable lines in this movie. You know this because you say them, too.
3. Mrs. Parker was none other than Barker’s Beauty the Lovely Kathleen from The Price Is Right.
The. Lovely. Kathleen. That’s how Bob Barker always introduced her on The Price Is Right, and she was in fact very lovely.
Mrs. Parker (Kathleen Bradley) was also lovely, and she became an icon all on her own. How legendary is it to be one of Barker’s Beauties (she was the first Black permanent Beauty) as well as the woman who would become synonymous with sexy older women? Who among you has not had your own Mrs. Parker?
4. All the Easter Eggs.
There are a ton of Easter eggs and sight gags in the movie.
For instance, I can’t tell you how many times I had already watched the movie before it was pointed out to me that when Joi calls Craig to confront him about his alleged trip to the movies, there is a dude in blue khakis lying in bed beside her.
When Smokey is trying to stop his car from rolling forward, he puts his foot out and tries to stop it Fred Flintstone style, which results in the white part of his Chucks leaving a skid mark in the street.
When Big Worm pulls up in his ice cream truck the first time, a very young Meagan Good is one of the kids standing up front disappointed that they can’t buy anything.
I live for corny stuff like that in movies. What are some you have noticed in Friday?
5. The soundtrack.
The soundtrack to Friday is everything. You’ve got songs from 2 Live Crew, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, The Isley Brothers—it bangs.
You can’t have a good hood movie without a bopping-ass hip-hop soundtrack. Here, you get a good mix of hip-hop and classic R&B. A lot of the songs on this soundtrack are still in heavy rotation for me.
From the title track to Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringin,” it is easily one of the best movie soundtracks ever.
What is your favorite thing about Friday? I’d love to hear it.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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