Fundraising for Funk Icon Betty Davis Documentary

Published On October 29, 2015 | By Mackenzie Sugrue | Music
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 01: Photo of Betty DAVIS; Posed studio portrait of Betty Davis, on motorbike (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

Photos by Mel Dixon, Fin Costello, A.Barboza, Baron Wolman, Charles Tracy

Hip hop artists like Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj are praised for “paving the way” for lady musicians in a male-dominated genre of music. In addition to embracing their sexuality, both exude confidence and have proven their talent.

But long before those artists became household names, there was someone else doing it first… This fierce female icon began building the foundation for females everywhere–her name is Betty Davis.

Arguably one of the most influential musicians in funk, Davis’ music style is a mixture of blues, funk, and what some might consider “pre-punk.” Almost 30 years ago, she fell off the map. Now, she is teaming up with filmmakers to tell her story for the first time…

Filmed by Phil Cox and Damon Smith, “Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis,” will explore the various aspects of Davis’ life including: growing up on a farm in North Carolina, her journey to funk icon status, her brief marriage to Miles Davis, and her mysterious disappearance.

3. Betty_Davis_Fame_1_2Through the film, Davis will explain her struggle to maintain her independence and integrity as a strong female songwriter. Much of Davis’ music and performances were boycotted by the NAACP and certain religious groups due to raunchy lyrics and erotic stage performances, which clashed with both of the stigmas around women and African Americans during that time. The film also explains the decision she made to leave the music scene in place of compromising her creativity.

Black Music Nov 1974 cover_2In addition to the documentary, The Nasty Gal team will host a Betty Davis tribute concert in Pittsburgh, scheduled for early 2016 and directed by artist-musician Greg Erico (Sly and the Family Stones, the Jerry Garcia Band, and the producer of Betty Davis’ first album). “I’m proud to be part of the Betty Davis project and glad to see that her fans and the public are responding to what she’s put out there — and are inspiring her in return,” Erico stated recently.

The group’s also working on getting her friends and former collaborators together to honor the musical icon. You can join Mayor Bill Peduto, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and the Pittsburgh Arts Council in giving your support to this event.

The current plan is to record the concert on film, which would be the best possible finale to her movie. Half of all the money raised at the show will be donated to a charity Betty established. The remaining money will be used to help fund music education programs for underprivileged kids of Pittsburgh.
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Now’s your chance to get involved: The Nasty Gal team has created an Indiegogo campaign for funding and fan assistance, and they’re looking to raise $65,000 by November 10. Donors have the chance to receive an exclusive bootleg track of Betty Davis’ live performance in Tokyo; a Betty Davis signed Vinyl LP; a digital download of the film; a rare autographed copy of the Nasty Gal CD; an invite to the world premiere; or dinner with the filmmakers and four tickets to the premiere in a select city.

For a full list of perks or to make a donation, be sure to visit their website. Donations to the Indiegogo campaign will be used to help fund the archive of Betty Davis’ pictures, licensing rights for the use of her music, and to cover principal filming.

Stay with us as more details materialize; and be sure to get informed/consider donating to this great cause.

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