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Betty Mabry Davis, the original Funk Queen passed away. She was 77 years old. The songwriter and fashion icon from a small town in Pennsylvania arrived on the jazz scene in the 1970s. She broke the boundaries for women with her brazen personality, fashion sense, and outrageous Funk music. The singer was considered a feminist pioneer, according to Philip Cox for IMDb.
In the Funk Queen’s short-lived career, she became the first Black woman to write, perform, and manage herself. The Chambers Brothers and the Commodores were recipients of her unique songwriting style. She married Miles Davis in 1968; he was 18 years her senior. Their marriage lasted a year.
Rest in peace. Details here: https://t.co/z5u9aedCiH
— UltimateClassicRock (@UltClassicRock) February 9, 2022
She disappeared for decades, then in 2017, she released a 54-minute documentary and biography entitled “Betty: They Say I’m Different.” As Miles often referred to her as “the first,” this film brings her to the big screen proving she was “Madonna before Madonna.”
A close friend, Danielle Maggio, confirmed her death to Rolling Stone. The communications director for Allegheny County reported that the singer died of natural causes.
Twitter user @AngeliqueRoche wrote:
This one stings. TY for being an icon for the funky ones, the untamables, the wild ones, the magical Black girls who found a home in ur voice & ur unapologetic lyrics. Rest in Power Queen.
Twitter user @MarshaWarfield shared her feeling about the singer/songwriter:
One of my sheroes has joined the Ancestors. She was ahead of her time long before punk-funk. She, Labelle, and the Brides of Funkenstein challenged what it meant to be a Black “lady.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Rolling Stone: Betty Davis, Trailblazing Queen of Funk, Dead at 77; Daniel Kreps
NPR: Betty Davis, funk pioneer and fashion icon, dies at 77; by Andrew Limbong
IMDb: “Betty: They Say I’m Different”
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Cam Miller’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Paul VanDerWerf’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License