GET READY FOR BETTY Spring OF 2017!
AN ASPIRING SONGWRITER FROM A SMALL STEEL TOWN, BETTY MABRY DAVIS ARRIVED ON THE SCENE TO BREAK BOUNDARIES FOR WOMEN WITH HER DARING PERSONALITY, ICONIC FASHION STYLE AND OUTRAGEOUS FUNK. SHE BEFRIENDED JIMI HENDRIX AND SLY STONE, WROTE SONGS FOR THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS AND THE COMMODORES AND MARRIED MILES DAVIS - TURNING HIM FROM JAZZ TO FUNK AND THEN WENT ON TO IGNITE STAGES IN THE 70S WITH HER SASSY SEXED UP MIX OF HARD ROCK AND BLUESY FUNK, INSPIRING ARTISTS FROM PRINCE TO ERYKAH BADU TO KAREN 0 AND PEACHES. THEN SHE VANISHED...
Betty Mabry Davis is known for her outsized life, fashion and music in 1970s America — but her raunchy lyrics and explosive stage energy clashed with the race and gender stereotypes of her time, leading the NAACP and black middle class to object to her music and boycott her performances. This film will discover a very private Betty who fought to keep her integrity as a woman and songwriter, choosing to vanish from the music scene rather than compromise her creativity. Now living quietly in the same steel town where she spent her childhood, Betty, for reasons that this film will reveal for the first time, chose to vanish from the limelight for three decades, cutting herself off from everyone in her past. As the film unveils Betty’s childhood, as well as the isolative years of her post-career life, we will explore themes of poverty and illness and how she rose above them, all rendered with a sensitivity that honors our subject.
Our film will show that Betty Davis was a woman ahead of her time—and that she suffered for her uncompromising independence. Along the way, viewers will see that she was the equal of Tina Turner or Chaka Khan in terms of style, stage charisma, and pure sex appeal, and that Betty laid the groundwork for later divas such as Erykah Badu and Macy Gray, white soul singers like Amy Winehouse and Nikka Costa, and rockers Karen O and Jennifer Herrema. Her influence on fashion alone, via her friendships with top designers Betsey Johnson, Halston, and Stephen Burrows, continues to resonate today as designers and artists in the U.S., U.K., France, and Japan — from American Apparel to the online fashion store Nasty Gal Inc — pay tribute to her style. The film further illuminates how, through her groundbreaking funk music and sexed-up lyrics and stage act, Betty broke and flouted taboos in the 1970s, resisting what was deemed “respectable” for women by the record industry and establishment culture. In the 21st century, as her music continues to be discovered and Betty is cited as a major influence by artists as diverse as Madonna and Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Peaches, the story of this “black panther woman” (Carlos Santana) will finally be told, and the mystery of her fall into oblivion made comprehensible, even to those closest to her, for the very first time.