The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982


Betty Davis documentary premieres in Amsterdam

Betty – They Say I Am Different profiles the groundbreaking funk musician described by Miles Davis as “Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince”

Film maker Phil Cox has written and directed a documentary about the reclusive funk songwriter and vocalist Betty Davis. Called Betty – They Say I Am Different, the film draws on archival footage, animation, interviews and song lyrics to tell the story of Davis’s life, from her childhood through her friendships with Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, to her writing for The Chambers Brothers and The Commodores, and onto her brief marriage to Miles Davis and her influence on his album Bitches Brew. It also touches on her 35 year disappearance.

“It was an incredible experience to collaborate with Betty across four years,” states director Cox. “Her cultural and musical importance as a free thinking female pioneer, who paved the way for so many artists to follow, must now be recognised. Her fearless stand as an independent artist, years before anyone else was ‘doing it’ led to great hardship, but her blistering funk albums still stand strong alongside those of her contemporaries Sly Stone, Funkadelic and others. Betty is still unique – it was an honour to make this very personal film with her.”

Betty – They Say I’m Different premieres at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2017 on 18 November, followed by screenings at various cinemas around the city until 25 November.

Last year, Light In The Attic released Betty Davis: The Unheard Columbia Years 1968–1969, compiled from remastered original analogue recordings of previously unheard Miles and Betty Davis sessions.

You can watch the trailer below: