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Betty Davis: Godmother of Funk

Blending documentary and animation, this movie traces Betty Davis’s life, detailing how she grew from humble upbringings to become a self-realized black female pioneer the world failed to appreciate.

Funk Queen Betty Davis changed the landscape for female artists in America. She 'was the first', as former husband Miles Davis said. 'Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince'.

An aspiring songwriter from a small steel town, Betty arrived on the 70s scene to break boundaries for women with her daring personality, iconic fashion and outrageous funk music. She befriended Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, wrote songs for the Chambers Brothers and the Commodores, and married Miles – startlingly turning him from jazz to funk on the album she named 'Bitches Brew'. She then, despite being banned and boycotted, went on to become the first black woman to perform, write and manage herself.

Betty was a feminist pioneer, inspiring and intimidating in a manner like no woman before. Then suddenly - she just vanished. Betty Mabry Davis is a global icon whose mysterious life story has until now, never been told. Creatively blending documentary and animation, this movie traces the path of Betty’s life, how she grew from humble upbringings to become a fully self-realized black female pioneer the world failed to understand or appreciate, revealing the mystery of her 35-year disappearance and her battle with mental illness and poverty. After years of trying, the elusive Betty finally allowed the film-makers to creatively tell her story based on their conversations.

52 minutes

Last on

Fri 4 Oct 2019 22:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:02

    Betty Davis


  • 00:06

    Betty Davis

    Walkin' Up The Road

  • 00:08

    The Underwolves

    So Blue It's Black

  • 00:17

    Elmore James

    Going For Good

  • 00:21

    The Chambers Brothers

    Uptown (Album Version)

  • 00:30

    Betty Davis

    Nasty Gal

  • 00:33

    Ma Rainey

    Trust No Man

  • 00:51

    Betty Davis

    You and I

  • 00:52

    Betty Davis

    Shut Off The Light


Role Contributor
Director Phil Cox
Writer Phil Cox
Producer Giovanna Stopponi
Producer Laurent Mini
Producer Damon Smith


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