Betty Davis
Betty Davis (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns via Getty Images)

Betty Davis, the ’70s “Funk Queen” whose gritty, hard-thumping sound garnered her a following of loyal headbangers and funk aficionados, is the subject of a new documentary outlining how the largely unsung artist influenced the still-popular funk music genre.

The Sept. 14 event kicks off the third annual Funkateers’ Ball weekend at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland. A screening of the movie will be followed by a performance by members of Davis’ band, Funk House.

The long-awaited film, “Betty: They Say I’m Different,” blends documentary and animation, tracing the path from Davis’ humble upbringings to her status as a fully self-realized Black female pioneer.

Aside from her own storied career as a singer, composer and musician, Davis is credited with influencing jazz icon Miles Davis, her onetime husband, to move from his traditional style to jazz fusion, an eclectic blend of rock, pop and funk. She also named his seminal album “Bitches Brew.”

Though never a commercial success herself, her modest discography nevertheless influenced generations to come, with her sexually liberated style turning her into a controversial cult figure in the 1970s.

A recluse who virtually vanished from the scene 35 years ago, Davis is still around, currently living near Pittsburgh.

For ticket information, go to funkateersball.com.

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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