Published Sep 28, 2018Under-appreciated funk great Betty Davis has been out of the spotlight for several decades, but her career and life are being explored in the new documentary Betty: They Say I'm Different. Several years in the works, the long-awaited film will finally make its Toronto debut at a screening at the Royal Cinema on October 2.
For the uninitiated: Betty Davis was a '70s funk pioneer who was married to Miles Davis and strongly influenced his career by introducing him to psychedelic rock and funk — something that helped usher in the era of jazz fusion. In her own right, Betty Davis released a series of classic funk records in the 1970s, which were rediscovered and reissued by Light in the Attic in recent years. She was friends with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone and an influential fashion finger.
Betty: They Say I'm Different was directed by Phil Cox, and it traces the singer's life growing up on a farm in North Carolina through to her funk career and her mysterious 30-year disappearance from the spotlight. The filmmakers tracked her down back in 2012 and got her participation in this documentary.
At the October 2 screening, there will be a live reunion performance from Davis' original backing band Funk House. The band members have since gone to play with artists like Herbie Hancock, Chuck Rainey and Alphonse Mouzon. The Toronto screening is presented by Aurora and Royal Stompbox. Tickets and further information is available here.
See a film trailer below. The documentary was previously set to be titled Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis.