Funk icon Betty Davis: Her flamboyant and enigmatic life deserves the cinematic treatment.
Funk icon Betty Davis: Her flamboyant and enigmatic life deserves the cinematic treatment. Light in the Attic

The Indiegogo campaign for the documentary film Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis is down to its last day, and it's only accrued about half of its $65,000 goal. You can contribute here, if you have a mind to. Betty Davis is a truly worthy figure for such a cinematic treatment. She conceived at least two classic funk albums in the '70s—Betty Davis and They Say I'm Different, both reissued by Seattle label Light in the Attic—and established herself as an outré, original figure in the music business at a time when women writing and performing their own songs were rare. Beyond her own action-packed solo albums, which contain some of history's filthiest funk (see also Nasty Gal and Is It Love or Desire), Davis in the late '60s spurred her husband at the time, Miles Davis, to explore psychedelic rock and funk, thereby influencing the jazz trumpeter to create some of his most exciting and innovate work. But Ms. Davis dropped out of the music scene in 1979, moved back to her childhood neighborhood near Pittsburgh, and rarely has been seen or heard since then.

Nasty Gal directors Phil Cox and Damon Smith say their film will...

show that Betty Davis was a woman ahead of her time—and that she suffered for her uncompromising independence. Betty broke and flouted taboos resisting what was deemed “respectable” for women, leading the NAACP to object to her music and commercial radio stations to ban her songs. Betty always refused to compromise, always remaining true to her art and voice rather than give up her creativity. She knew she "was different" and she suffered for that. This still untold story, set to the greatest funk music America has produced—will set the record straight and finally give Betty her legacy.